Oklahoma State University women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna were killed in a small plane crash in Arkansas last night. The pilot, Olin Branstetter, a former Oklahoma state senator, and his wife Paula were also killed.
Burns Hargis, Oklahoma State University President, spoke at a news conference this morning and said:
“The Oklahoma State family is devastated by this tragedy. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and the other victims. It’s our worst nightmare. The entire OSU family is very close, very close indeed, and to lose anyone, and especially these two individuals who were incredible life forces in our family, is worse beyond words.”
Budke and Serna were in Arkansas to do some recruiting and returning home when the plane crashed outside of Little Rock. Budke, who had just started his seventh season as the Cowgirls’ head coach, had a 112-83 record. Last Sunday was their season opener, and the Cowgirls beat Rice 96-60. Prior to becoming OSU’s head coach in 2005, his resume includes stints as a head coach for Allen County Community College, Trinity Valley Community College and Louisiana Tech. Budke leaves behind his wife Shelley and their three children, Sara (currently a student at OSU), Alex and Brett.
Miranda Serna became part of the coaching staff at OSU when Budke came on board. In addition to her position as assistant coach, she also served as the team’s recruiting coordinator. She was previously an assistant coach under Budke at Louisiana Tech. Serna hailed from Guadalupita, New Mexico and attended Trinity Valley Community College before moving on to Houston and played for the Cougars during the 96-97 season. Serna is survived by her mother, Nettie Herrera, father, John Serna, sister Cassandra, two nephews and a niece.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims. What a sad, sad day at OSU.