View Full Version : OK St. Women's Basketball Coach Dies in Plane Crash

11-18-2011, 01:23 PM
So sad. I can't even imagine how the families, team, and school feels. My prayers go out to them.

(CNN) -- Oklahoma State University women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna were killed when their plane crash on the way to a recruiting trip in Arkansas, university officials said Friday.

Former Oklahoma State Sen. Olin Branstetter and his wife Paula also died in the Thursday evening crash, said university spokesman Gary Schutt.

"It's a terribly sad day," he said.

The crash occurred in Perry County, Arkansas, leaving no survivors.

The plane, a Piper Cherokee PA-28, according to FAA records, crashed under "unknown circumstances" in a wooded area about four miles south of Perryville, Arkansas, about 4:30 p.m. CT on Thursday, agency spokesman Lynn Lunsford said Friday.

No additional information about the crash was immediately available.

Budke and Serna were on a recruiting trip to Little Arkansas, the university said.

University officials credited Budke for turning the school's women's basketball program around, culminating with a top-10 national ranking and an appearance in the second round of the NCAA tournament last season. He was in his seventh season with the school.

"Kurt was an exemplary leader and a man of character who had a profound impact on his student-athletes," Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis said. "He was an outstanding coach and a wonderful person. We send our deepest sympathies to his wife, Shelley, and their children, Sara, Alex and Brett."

Serna was also in her seventh season with OSU after coming to the school to work for Budke from Louisana Tech, where they both previously worked. She served as the program's recruiting coordinator, according to the school.

Hargis called her "an up-and-coming coach and an outstanding role model for our young ladies."

"Its our worst nightmare," he added.

The school called off games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, and grief counselors were on hand for athletes and staff, the university said.

Jim Littell, the team's associate head coach, will take over as interim head coach, according to Mike Holder, OSU vice president for athletics.

The crash is the second fatal plane crash to strike the OSU basketball program in nearly 11 years.

Ten people, eight of them associated with the university's men's basketball program, died when their plane crashed in a Colorado snow storm on January 28, 2001.


11-19-2011, 08:13 AM
What is the deal with Oklahoma State basketball and plane crashes?

RIP to all those involved.

Basketball Fan
11-19-2011, 12:26 PM
If I were affiliated with Oklahoma State in any way I would probably not set foot on a plane again. Its just too eerie.

11-21-2011, 12:52 AM
I don't disagree with that thinking. Kind of like how I am scared to play sports here for my ACL's sake.