By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Football is never far from the conversation at Ole Miss, even on a day to celebrate women’s basketball.
Matt Insell, though, rallied nicely after athletics director Ross Bjork accidentally introduced him Friday morning to supporters at the Gillom Center as “your new head football coach.”
Insell pledges to make just as seamless a transition in helping restore the struggling program to its proud past.
“I will not sleep until we get it right, and we will get it right here at Ole Miss,” said Insell, 30, the lead assistant at Kentucky when he was hired two weeks ago.
Insell, the second-youngest Division 1 women’s coach, has a four-year contract worth $400,000 a year with incentives for regular season wins and postseason.
It’s the same deal Adrian Wiggins had before he and two assistants were let go last October amid allegations of academic misconduct. Wiggins not implicated.
Insell has $390,000 to spread among three assistant coaches. Two of them he’s already hired, one of them being Alex Fuller who he hired away from his father, Rick Insell, the coach at Middle Tennessee.
As part of the school’s self-imposed sanctions women’s basketball had two fewer scholarships for 2013 and will have two less for 2014.
Ole Miss is waiting to find if the NCAA will levy more sanctions.
“We can’t do anything about that. It’s happened,” Insell said. “There will not be anything that derails us from our ultimate goals. I promise you this: It won’t happen again.”
Insell was on Bjork’s radar for the opening at Western Kentucky prior to Bjork’s hiring at Ole Miss last spring.
For the Ole Miss position Bjork said he met with sitting head coaches, top assistants and candidates with an Ole Miss connection.
“Simply put, Matt was the best,” Bjork said.