MTSU women’s basketball on the road: From Walmart trips to ‘Coach Insell time’ |

A terrific look by the Daily News Journal inside the Middle Tennessee State University women’s basketball team — something that will look very familiar to many operations people. This will give you a very good idea what is involved with just one single road trip for one single team. Do you think a Director of Operations needs to have their stuff together? Kudos to Middle Tennessee’s Richard Lowe for the job he’s doing in Murfreesboro.

Players know the deal: 9 o’clock means 8:45 sharp. For athletic staff, 9 o’clock means if you’re not there by 8:30, you’re late.

At 8:44 a.m. Tuesday, 13 Lady Raiders in royal blue tracksuits began piling into the charter bus outside Murphy Center, many clutching pillows, before plopping into their assigned seat where their Chick-fil-A breakfast order was still warm. A mix of personnel was already scattered in seats throughout the bus’ first six rows: four student managers, a grad assistant, a chaplain, a broadcaster, a reporter and a trainer. Three assistant coaches filed in by 8:50. MTSU coach Rick Insell, last to board, had the final word before the Lady Raiders left Murfreesboro for Oxford, Miss.

“Get some rest,” Insell told his team ahead of the four-and-a-half hour ride that began at 8:53, “and get your attitudes right.

“Let’s go get us one.”

That’s what the entire production is about. A hundred moving parts, thousands of dollars and more planning and coordination than even the players can fathom — all of it to ensure that by tipoff, MTSU is focused. Prepared. Attitude right. Ready to go get one.

Often, the formula works. The Lady Raiders are 116-59 in road games in Insell’s 13th year at the head of the program. Other times, like Wednesday night’s 65-56 loss at Ole Miss, MTSU falls short. But it’s never for a lack of nonstop effort by the behind-the-scenes crew.

USA TODAY NETWORK—Tennessee accompanied the Lady Raiders on their most recent two-day road trip to Mississippi with an eye on all that is unseen by viewers at home and even fans at Murphy Center.

“There’s a lot that goes into what we do,” MTSU director of operations Richard Lowe says.

A lot more than you think.

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