Oklahoma State Woman’s Basketball woke-up this morning to tragic news. Their head coach, Kurt Budke, and one of their assistant coaches, Miranda Serna, had died in a plane crash. Only a couple of days after the Cowgirls had opened their season with a 96-60 win over Rice. Assistant Coach Jim Little will be taking over for Budke, as the interim head coach. I wish him, and the Cowgirls, the best of luck in overcoming this horrid tragedy. Their Saturday game versus Grambling State and their Sunday game versus Texas-Arlington have been canceled.
For the Oklahoma State men’s and woman’s basketball, this is (unfortunately) not a new thing. In 2001 a Beechcraft King Air 200 carrying two men’s basketball players, four team officials, a radio play-by-play announcer, a radio engineer, the pilot and copilot crashed just outside of Boulder, Colorado. The NTSB cited mass power failure and pilot disorientation in that crash. After the 2001 crash Oklahoma State required that any aircraft carrying student-athletes undergo a careful inspection before each flight. However, that requirement did not extend to coaches or members of the Athletic Department. The aircraft involved in this morning’s crash was a single engine Piper PA-28 built in 1964.
Coach Budke arrived in Stillwater Oklahoma seven years ago. He brought a young and promising assistant coach with him, her name was Miranda Serna. The Cowgirl team that he inherited was a total mess. The Cowgirls finished winless in the Big-12 in Budke’s first season. Six years later, the Cowgirls were wrapping up the first top-ten finish in program history.
Also aboard the aircraft were the pilot former Oklahoma State Senator Olin Branstetter and his wife Paula. My thoughts go out to their families.