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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Johnson: Doors opened for Insell?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

There's an old saying, "All good things must come to an end."

One can only believe that this just might be the case for legendary Shelbyville Golden Eaglette coach Rick Insell.

With the departure of former Middle Tennessee State Lady Blue Raider coach Stephany Smith, who recently accepted the head coaching job at Alabama, the doors might open for Insell to take a look at his and my alma mater.

With that said, a number of questions come to mind.

Why would any athletic director even consider a high school coach with no college experience?

First, at one point in time, everyone that has ever had the opportunity to coach at the college level didn't have any college experience.

Insell is not your ordinary high school basketball coach. He has built the Shelbyville Eaglette basketball program similar to a college program. He's made it a priority to search and schedule some of the top girls basketball teams across the nation year in and year out. He takes every opportunity that arises to promote and sell his program. He's been involved as much as any high school coach can with Junior Olympic (AAU) Basketball. He has accumulated basketball contacts from across the nation.

We all knew sooner or later the opportunity would come. To be quite honest, it's hard for me to believe that it hasn't happened before now. Insell once told me that the MTSU position is one of a few college jobs he would ever consider.

Just what does a high school basketball coach have to accomplish in order to be considered for a college head coaching position?

How about two national championships? If that doesn't get your attention, add in a pair of national runner-ups, 10 state championships, five state runner-ups, 16 regional championships and 23 district titles.

Insell is nearing his 800th win in his illustrious 28-year career and has been named national coach of the year twice.

Are you convinced now?

Over the past few weeks, I've wondered how much experience the majority of current women's college basketball coaches had when they were hired. I wouldn't hesitate to compare their resumes at that time to Insell's.

To be a successful coach, you not only have to know the game, you have to teach the game, have the ability to sell your program and perhaps, most importantly, represent your institution in a favorable manner. A few wins along the way don't hurt matters.

Anyone who knows Insell realizes he possesses those attributes.

Not all agree with his style of 'tough love' coaching, but I don't see how anyone can argue how successful he and the Shelbyville Eaglette basketball program have become.

Insell's reign over the Eaglette basketball program is certain to end someday.

We'll have to wait and see if that day will be sooner or later.

(Gary Johnson is a Times-Gazette sports writer who covers Shelbyville Central High athletics.)

Gary Johnson
Point by Point

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