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Ole Miss, Matt Insell Agree To Four-Year Extension

Photo courtesy Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics
Photo courtesy Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics

After the first postseason berth since 2009-10 and one of the most successful SEC seasons in recent history, Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork announced that he and head women’s basketball coach Matt Insell have agreed in principle to a contract extension.  Insell’s current contract will be extended through 2018-19.

Coach Matt Insell Hottytoddy.com file photo
Coach Matt Insell
HottyToddy.com file photo

Insell’s four-year deal is the longest allowed by the state of Mississippi and includes a base salary of $475,000. His deal also includes an incentive package that includes incentives for academic and on-court accomplishments. Additionally, Insell received an additional 15 percent for his contractual staff members.

“Coach Insell and his staff have quickly established Ole Miss women’s basketball as a highly competitive program within the Southeastern Conference and have put Ole Miss on the map as a national program to be reckoned with for years to come,” said Bjork. “Matt understands that the necessary ingredients to build a championship-caliber program are recruiting and player development, and those two areas have improved dramatically since he took over our program. We value our people here at Ole Miss and we are proud to keep investing in women’s basketball so we can return Rebel basketball back to the national spotlight and give our student-athletes a world-class experience on and off the court. The best days are yet to come and we are thrilled Matt Insell will lead the charge to prominence.”

“It is really special to wake up everyday to work at a place like Ole Miss, while coaching the game that I love,” said Insell. “I am very grateful to Dr. Dan Jones, Ross Bjork and Lynnette Johnson for giving me an opportunity to coach at this great university and to lead our storied women’s basketball program back to prominence. I appreciate the commitment that our university and athletics department have for our program, as well as the support everyone has shown throughout our process.”

Insell has most certainly made an impact on the Ole Miss women’s basketball program in his two years at the helm, none more impressive than what he did with the team in 2014-15. In his second year, Insell led the Rebels to a 19-14, 7-9 SEC record and back to the postseason for the first time since 2009-10. The Rebels, picked to finish 14th in the preseason coaches and media poll, finished tied for seventh in the final SEC standings and picked up wins over two ranked opponents in 2014-15, including an upset of No. 13 Kentucky.  Ole Miss’ seven SEC wins are the most since the 2009-10 season and the 4-1 start to SEC action was also the best start to league play since 2009-10.

“We started this journey two years ago and we have made major strides, but the best is yet to come,” said Insell. “I am excited about the future of our program and I am grateful to Rebel Nation for the support they have shown our program and staff over the past two seasons. As we move forward, we’ll need your continued support as we transition into The Pavilion at Ole Miss next season.  We need you in the seats supporting the Rebels as we bring this program back to national prominence. I am committed to Ole Miss and plan on being here for a very long time as your women’s basketball coach.”

In the last two seasons, Ole Miss increased its win totals each year and in 2014-15 posted seven more wins than the previous year, garnering the most wins since the 2009-10 season and falling just one win short of the first 20-win season since 2006-07.  Insell became the sixth coach in program history to lead the Rebels to a postseason berth in just two seasons as Ole Miss advanced to the third round of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT).

Under Insell’s tutelage, Ole Miss players have taken their games to new heights. Tia Faleru was honored as an All-SEC first team selection and is a two-time first-team selection by the Associated Press and the only player to be a unanimous selection in 2014-15. Faleru was also an AP All-American honorable mention selection and named a fourth team College Sports Madness All-American. Freshman A’Queen Hayes earned a spot on the SEC All-Freshman team, while former Rebel Valencia McFarland was a finalist for Nancy Lieberman award, awarded to the nation’s top point guard.

The Rebels have continued to grow the women’s basketball fan base in Oxford as well. In 2014-15, 5,969 fans packed the Tad Smith Coliseum to see Ole Miss’ season opener against Grambling State – marking the second largest crowd to ever attend a women’s basketball game. Ole Miss has set an attendance mark in each of the last three seasons and attendance has increased by nearly 200 percent since Insell took over the program, while ticket sales have also increased.

For ticket information go to OleMissTix.com or call the Ole Miss Ticket Office at 1-888-REB-TKTS (732-8587). For all Ole Miss women’s basketball news and information, go to OleMissSports.com, and follow the Rebels on Twitter at @OleMissWBB, Facebook at Ole Miss WBB and on Instagram at Ole Miss_WBB. Fans can also follow Ole Miss women’s basketball head coach Matt Insell on Twitter at @minsell.

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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