THE SMELL of freshly cleaned hardwood floors fills the air. The bright fluorescent lights hum above the bleachers. The cool AC fights the stuffy hot air from cheering fans. The referees and umpires run up and down the court chasing the players. Dribble. Dribble. Dribble. The textured ball bounces in slow motion time and time again. Nothing says America like a crowded, loud gym. Lines at the concession stand grow longer at halftime because family and friends don’t want to miss a single shot.
Rick Insell knows this feeling all too well. For years he has coached students and players in basketball to grow from talented young athletes to women in the Women’s National Basketball Association, or WNBA. Not every coach can obtain that level of success for their team, but Rick Insell has done it over and over again. Rick called Shelbyville Central High School home from 1977 to 2005. His high school teams went on to win more than 750 games and broke school records. He, the players, and the school were recognized by national media for their success. Talent is everywhere in Shelbyville, but with his guidance, the women basketball players in Bedford County were able to shine for the world to see.
Then, Middle Tennessee State University needed a new coach. In 2005, Rick retired from Shelbyville Central High School to join the MTSU Women’s Basketball program. He was the new man on the court and brought with him game-changing coaching that boosted the school’s presence in the Women’s sports arena.
After a trailblazing career of success, the Shelbyville Central High School wanted to celebrate Rick’s success and acknowledge the lasting legacy he helped generate at the high school. On June 5, 2021, the high school hosted a ceremony to officially rename the gymnasium in his honor. For decades, basketball players will play in a gym named after him.
“This great honor represents all of the outstanding players, assistant coaches, and supporters who helped make Shelbyville Central High School girls basketball what it became,” Insell said at the ceremony. “I believe our players took great pride in being an Eaglette, and I took great pride in being their coach.” -GN
- 1,150+ total victories in 40+ seasons
- 775 – 148 record at Shelbyville Central High School
- 378 – 138 record at Middle Tennessee State University
- Only coach in NCAA history to produce three consecutive NCAA scoring champions
- Three – time Coach of the Year
- Four – time National Coach of the Year – USA Today 1989, 1991; Converse National High School Coach of the year 1990, 1992
- Received invitation to the Oval Office from President George H. W. Bush for academic and athletic achievement
- Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association Hall of Fame, 2003
- National High School Hall of Fame, 2007
- 2010 recipient of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s Morgan Wooden Award for Lifetime Achievement for High School Girls Basketball
- Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, 2012
- Cannon County Sports Hall of Fame, 2013
- Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, June 2017
- Blue Raiders Sports Hall of Fame, September 2017
- Middle Tennessee’s all-time winningest basketball coach (men or women) with 378 wins
- Has developed six All-Americans, six conference players of the year and four WNBA draft picks
- Led Shelbyville Central High School to a TSSAA record 10 Class AAA state championships
- Shelbyville Central was named USA Today National Champions in 1989 & 1991
- Posted a 775-148 record for an 84 percent winning percentage
- 1991 Shelbyville team selected as the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame Team of the Year – the first high school team ever to be recognized