The Middle Tennessee State University women's basketball team is preparing for the start of the season and already has a hurdle to overcome. Head coach Rick Insell has tested positive for COVID-19. He will enter mandatory quarantine and remain in isolation for at least 10 days.
"I'm feeling fine and doing well," Insell said in a statement. "I appreciate everyone's well wishes. I will stay home and quarantine and do as I'm supposed to because the health and safety of our student-athletes and everyone associated with our program is always first and foremost, now more than ever. I look forward to when I can get back onto the court and be with our team."
According to the Daily News Journal, the Lady Raiders' head coach will be eligible to leave quarantine on Dec. 5. This timeline is critical, considering that the team has the first game of the season set for the next day. Insell will continue coaching the team during practice, albeit virtually. Lady Raiders sports information director Tony Stinnett said that Insell would use technology to continue working with the team.
The Lady Raiders will start the season later than expected following a major schedule change. The team postponed games against Louisville and Vanderbilt due to the coronavirus. Two positive results surfaced on Friday after several negative tests earlier in the month. Director of Athletics Chris Massaro announced the schedule change but did not have any set makeup dates.
Insell is the second college coach to test positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday. Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban also tested positive and is experiencing "mild symptoms." He will miss the rivalry game against the Auburn Tigers while remaining in isolation. Assistant coach Gus Malzahn will lead the team into the biggest game of the season.
"I hope he makes a speedy recovery," Malzahn told reporters on Wednesday. "It's gonna be a really weird deal playing an Iron Bowl without Nick being there." While the assistant coach tries to lead the team to victory, Saban will remain in isolation for 10 days. He will be eligible to return to the team on Dec. 4, one day before the season finale against Arkansas.
Saban previously tested positive for the coronavirus in October before a game against the Georgia Bulldogs. He immediately went into isolation and continued to observe practice sessions with the help of technology. Saban and Alabama later determined that it was a "false-positive" after three consecutive negative tests. He could return to the sidelines for the game against Georgia and lead his team to a win.