November 18, 2011

Oklahoma State Women's Head Basketball Coach and Assistant Killed in Plane Crash

By - Brian Harrington

Oklahoma State women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna have died in a plane crash along with two others, just ten months after the school commemorated the tenth anniversary of a crash that killed ten men associated with the men's program.

Photo by: Chris Day
The plane went down Thursday night in Perry County, Arkansas, the school said in a news release, killing the pilot and another individual not affiliated with the university.

Budke, 50, had opened his seventh season as the Cowgirls' coach on Sunday with a 96-60 win over Rice in Stillwater.

"The Oklahoma State family is devastated by this tragedy," OSU president Burns Hargis said Friday in the statement. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and the other victims.

The school has canceled the team's games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday against Grambling State and Texas-Arlington. Associate head coach Jim Littell will take over as interim head coach, school VP for athletics Mike Holder said.

"We are shocked by this terrible loss," Holder said in the news release. "Kurt Budke was an incredibly positive influence on his players and was a tremendous coach. He quickly turned our program around and put Cowgirl basketball on the map."

On January 27th, 2001, a plane that took off near Boulder, Colorado, after a men's game went down east of Denver, killing two players, four team officials, a play-by-play announcer, a radio engineer and two pilots.

Budke leaves behind his wife, Shelley, daughter Sara, who is a student at Oklahoma State, and sons Alex and Brett.

Budke had turned the Cowgirls around from a team that finished winless in the Big 12 in his first season to a perennial conference contender. In 2010 he led them to the program's most successful season, as they reached the second round of the NCAA tournament after a school-record six wins over Top 25 teams. They also finished with a top-10 ranking for the first time, recording 24 victories. Oklahoma State advanced to the second round of the WNIT in 2011, the Cowgirls' fifth straight postseason appearance.

A 1984 graduate of Washburn University, Budke earned a masters degree at Wichita State the following year. As a player, he earned all-conference honors at Barton County Junior College in 1981. The Salina, Kansas, native came to Oklahoma State from Louisiana Tech after coaching stops that included Allen County Community College and Friends University in Kansas, and Trinity Valley Community College in Texas.

He had brought Serna with him from Louisiana Tech. She had previously coached at Fresno State, Chicago State and Long Beach State.

"Miranda was a tireless worker and great recruiter," Holder said.

Serna played on Budke's 1996 national championship team at Trinity Valley Community College and was an assistant coach on his 1999 national championship team at the school.


  1. Real sad news. My thoughts are with the victims and their families

  2. Hate to hear this. Especially since its the second time something like that has happened at the school in the past 10 years. My condolences to the families.

  3. Sad news. I just don't see how anyone can get on those little single engine planes. Things are death traps.

  4. I agree with Chris. I don't see how anyone can get on those things either. They go down ALL THE TIME.