OSU women’s basketball Coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna were killed in a plane crash in Arkansas on Thursday evening.
Kurt Budke's family released this statement: "Kurt was a great husband, dad, son, brother, friend and man who also happened to be an incredible coach and leader of young people. His life was a testament to the power of perseverance, will, and determination. His loss is indescribable to both our family and his OSU family."
His father, John, also released a statement: "He gave us 50 years of fun and excitement. We find it too difficult to talk further about it at this time."
Budke was in his seventh season as Cowgirl coach, with an all-time record of 112-83. His team was 1-0 after a convincing victory over Rice Sunday. Under his direction, OSU made postseason appearances each of the past five seasons, including three trips to the NCAA tournament.
In the 2009-10 season, the Cowgirls won 24 games, including a school-record six victories against Top 25 teams, achieved a top-10 national ranking for the first time ever and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Budke transformed a program that endured a winless conference season in 2005-06 into a league title contender and NCAA Sweet 16 participant just two years later.
Before coming to OSU in 2005, Budke was a head coach for 12 seasons at Allen County (Ks.) Community College, Trinity Valley (Tx.) Community College and Louisiana Tech. His career record as a head coach was 465-130. Budke started coaching in 1984 as a graduate assistant at Washburn University before taking an assistant coaching position at Friends University.
A Salina, Kan., native, Budke earned all-conference honors as a player at Barton County (Ks.) Junior College in 1981. Budke was born June 3, 1961 and is married to the former Shelley Balthazor. They have three children; Sara, who is a student at OSU, Alex and Brett.
Miranda Serna was in her seventh season as an assistant coach at Oklahoma State. She previously worked in the same capacity at Louisiana Tech under Budke.
Serna helped guide the resurgence of the OSU women’s basketball as the program's recruiting coordinator. As a player, the Guadalupita, N.M. native helped lead Trinity Valley Community College to the NJCAA national title in 1996 and finished her collegiate career at Houston. Mother of OSU player shares memories