Reaction to plane crash deaths of OkSt coaches

BY foxsports • November 18, 2011

Reaction from around the nation after the deaths of Oklahoma state women's basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant coach Miranda Serna and two others in a plane crash Thursday night:

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''This is obviously an incredibly devastating event. It's our worst nightmare. The entire OSU family is very close, and to lose anyone, and especially these two individuals who were incredible life forces in our family, is worse beyond words. Ann (Hargis) and I were with the family this morning. They need all of our prayers and all of our support. When something like this happens, and God forbid it happened again, we have to pull together.'' - Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis.

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''I think people don't fully appreciate, who are not in athletics and who are not in the coaching profession, I don't know how much they appreciate what incredible mentors these people are to their teams. I've always said coaching is a lot more about psychology than it is about the nuts and bolts of the particular sport. Our coaches guide their students in developing the life skills they need in life. I know of no one that did that better than Kurt. Ann and I were also very fond of Miranda. She is from an area of New Mexico that we know very well. She was the first in her family to go to college. They were just both beautiful people. I would love to be the man that Kurt Budke was and the person that Miranda was.'' - Hargis.

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''I just can't imagine losing one of my players. I can't even fathom that. And then these girls have lost their coach, we have children who have lost their dad and a wife who has lost her husband. It just, it's unreal. ... I just wish I'd told him more how much he meant to me, just watching him from afar a little bit. ... I think they (the women's team) can play for his spirit when they're ready to play and play for his love of the game. ... I think you will see an inspired group of young women.'' - Oklahoma State men's coach Travis Ford.

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''I was devastated when I received the call this morning, I just looked at my son and started crying. My first thoughts went to Kurt Budke's wife, his children and Miranda Serna's family. I felt connected to Kurt through Coach Barmore and his association with Louisiana Tech and I also recruited some of his players while he was at Trinity Valley and of course though the Big 12. He and his staff have done an outstanding job at Oklahoma State and I am sure his work will be carried on there. It just hits home with all of us in this profession that truly we just coach a game. There's a bigger picture out there and it's not a basketball game, it puts life in perspective. I feel for the Oklahoma State community, how many more tragedies can they endure? I told Jim Littell (associate head coach) this morning, whatever we can do, please allow us to do it. Oklahoma State and women's basketball have lost two more fine people and our thoughts are with the families and Cowgirl student-athletes during this most difficult time.'' - Baylor coach Kim Mulkey.

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''We lost a family man and a great friend. When I retired after 25 years, you don't want just anyone to take your place. I thought Kurt was the right guy to do it ... This was a player's coach. The players loved to play for him. He presented an environment which was relaxing. He made you feel warm and at ease - that always stood out to me.'' - Leon Barmore, former coach at Louisiana Tech.

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''I am devastated by the tragic news of the deaths of Kurt and Miranda. Kurt was a fantastic basketball coach and he was a tremendous competitor. More importantly, though, he was a devoted father and husband, and a humble but courageous leader of young people. Our hearts and prayers go out to Kurt's wife, Shelley, and their children, and to Miranda's family, and the families of the other victims as well. Additionally, we are praying for the entire Oklahoma State women's basketball family.'' - Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale.

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''The entire women's basketball coaching community is stunned and deeply saddened by the news from Stillwater this morning. Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna were our colleagues and friends. I've known Kurt since he was at Trinity Valley Community College. I just can't believe it. Our thoughts and prayers are with Oklahoma State University; the Oklahoma State athletic program; the Cowgirls coaches, players and staff; and the family and friends of Kurt, Miranda and the other individuals who died in this tragic accident.'' - Beth Bass, CEO of Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

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''The basketball world and college athletics has lost a great man and a great young assistant coach. Coach Budke has been the person that I've been the closest to in the league since we both joined. We both can trace our history back to Louisiana Tech as assistants. He was somebody I talked to regularly on the phone just about the game itself and the direction we were going. He was a devout family man and the conversation never stopped without us talking about our own kids, not just the players we coached. Miranda was one of the young rising stars in recruiting and as an assistant coach. I talked to him two weeks ago about general stuff on recruiting and possibly continuing to play after we went to the SEC. We both agreed it would probably take a few years, but we were both going to miss the games we've have over the past years. The man upstairs doesn't tell us when and it's just a tremendous tragedy and loss for Oklahoma State and their families. This is also the same day bonfire fell 12 years ago and is a tragedy that Aggies will remember for the rest of their lives. Life is precious. We must enjoy it and we must respect it because it can be taken away at any time. I hope the basketball world and the sports world will honor Coach Budke and Miranda in the right way and help the rest of us realize how special our families and the extended families of our teams are.'' - Texas A&M coach Gary Blair.

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''He stood out among all the other candidates. His work ethic and dedication to the game of basketball. He was a real student of the game. He was an outstanding family man and community man. It's a tragic loss to Oklahoma state. He won the first national championship here in 1993-94 and that was just the beginning for him.'' - Former Trinity Valley Community College athletic director Leon Spencer, who hired Budke.

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''He was a great person and great coach. Both of those things I will remember of him more as a person than a coach. He had a lot of involvement in the community and made sure they were all involved in activities in the community. I've been here for over 30 years and I've seen a lot of coaches and he'll stand out to me, being the winningest coach but more importantly he cared about his players and what happened to them.'' - Dr. Jerry King, vice president of instruction at Trinity Valley Community College.

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''On behalf of the NCAA, I want to express my deepest sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna and the other victims of last night's plane crash. For any coaching community to lose bright stars like Kurt and Miranda is tragic. This is a profound loss for the Oklahoma State women's basketball family, the entire university and future women's basketball players as well. The NCAA stands ready to help Oklahoma State should it need any assistance as it copes with this terrible accident.'' -NCAA President Mark Emmert.

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''I am shocked and saddened by the deaths of Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna. Most of my conversations with Kurt were about his family. He was a very proud husband and father. Miranda was a tireless recruiter full of energy and passion about her job. My heart goes out to both Kurt and Miranda's families and the entire Oklahoma State family. Kurt and Miranda were both first class.'' - Kansas coach Bonnie Henrickson.

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''Our hearts go out to the Budke, Serna and entire OSU family. No school has suffered and endured more than Oklahoma State University in recent memory. Kurt was a terrific guy and coach. We wish the best to the immediate and extended families as they comfort each other during this tragic time.'' - Kansas men's coach Bill Self.


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