Jill Pace - Head Coach
In her first season as Tufts women’s basketball head coach in 2019-20, Jill Pace won NESCAC Coach of the Year honors as well as D3hoops.com, WBCA, and NEWBA regional Coach of the Year awards.
She directed the 2019-20 team to wins in its first 26 games—a new Tufts record—and to a 28–1 final mark that included an NCAA "Sweet 16" berth. The Jumbos were in strong contention for the NCAA championship, but as Tufts was preparing to host the Sweet 16 round the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19. The team finished the year ranked second in the D3hoops national poll and posted a perfect 10–0 NESCAC season for first place in the league.
A former assistant coach at Tufts, Pace had been the head coach at Pomona-Pitzer from 2016-19. When she was hired at Pomona-Pitzer in the summer of 2016, she inherited a young team that posted a 1-23 record in her first season. The Sagehens improved to 8-17 for 2017-18 and then had an historic 2018-19 season finishing 22-6 including 14-2 in the league. The team won the program's first-ever Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championship and posted 20 or more victories for the first time since 1991. Directing the team to its first NCAA appearance since 2002, Pace was named SCIAC Coach of the Year and D3hoops.com West Region Coach of the Year.
Pace was an assistant coach under former Tufts head coach Carla Berube for two seasons in 2014-15 and 2015-16. The Jumbos advanced to the NCAA "Final Four" in both years, including playing in the NCAA Championship Game in 2016. The 2014-15 team won the NESCAC title.
A 2012 graduate of Bowdoin College, Pace earned a bachelor's degree in sociology and gender and women's studies. She played on teams that earned NCAA Tournament berths all four years and she was also a part of the 2009 NESCAC Championship team. A captain of the 2011-12 Polar Bears, Pace is 12th on the all-time scoring list with 1,085 points. The 485 points she scored as a senior are the fifth-most in a single season in Bowdoin history. A Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Honorable Mention All-American as a senior, Pace was also a NESCAC All-Academic honoree and a three-time NESCAC All-Conference selection during her Bowdoin career.
The Jumbos excel on the court, in class and in the community under Coach Pace’s guidance. Erica DeCandido, a 2020 Tufts graduate, was selected D3hoops National Player of the Year, D3hoops Northeast Player of the Year, NEWBA Player of the Year and NESCAC Player of the Year for 2019-20. The team carries a 3.50 cumulative grade point average. Current team members Molly Ryan and Sofia Rosa were the only two NESCAC players to receive Academic All-District® honors for 2020-21. Among the team's community service activities is hosting a Foster Children’s party and volunteering as Big Sisters.
Originally from Bath, Maine, Pace got her start in coaching at Smith College in 2013-14 where she helped the Pioneers earn their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance and first-ever NCAA win. She also received a master's degree from Smith in exercise and sport studies.
Jamie Insel • Assistant Coach
Jamie Insel is in her third season with the Tufts University coaching staff after joining the Jumbos in July 2019.
Insel earned the Women's Basketball Coaches Association 2020 Assistant Coach of the Year Award for Division III. She helped direct the 2019-20 Jumbos to wins in their first 26 games—a new Tufts record—and to a 28–1 final mark that included an NCAA "Sweet 16" berth. The Jumbos were in strong contention for the NCAA Championship, but as Tufts was preparing to host the Sweet 16 round the tournament was canceled due to COVID-19. The team finished the year ranked second in the D3hoops national poll and posted a perfect 10–0 NESCAC season for first place in the league.
For the two seasons prior to coming to Tufts, Insel was working in NESCAC at Colby College. Before that, she spent three years as an assistant coach at MIT. She was part of the 2016-17 Engineers team that finished 20-6. MIT had improved its record from 11-15 in Insel's first season to 17-9 in the 2015-16 academic year.
Insel, who was the recruiting coordinator for MIT, is a 2014 graduate of Assumption College. She helped the women's basketball team to a 79-37 record and three trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament in her four years. Insel averaged 9.2 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game in her senior season.
Before coaching at MIT, Insell assisted in coordinating the United Basketball (N.J.) AAU program.