By Austin Chappell
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Nick Hoheisel is the definition of an athlete.
He was a fullback at Kansas State, was named the team's Weightlifter of the Year in 2002 and is certified by the United States Weightlifting Federation. He is currently the Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Oklahoma State women's basketball team, a position he has held for a year and a half.
He has the look of what some doctors might describe as, "a physical specimen."
However, Hoheisel's obstacles outside of athletics are unlike anything he has ever faced in a practice or a game. His dad, John, was a survivor of the tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of 14 Wichita State University football players and 17 others in 1970.
The crash came years before Hoheisel was born, but it still plays a meaningful role in his life.
"I thank God every day that my dad was able to come out of that crash all right," Hoheisel said. "And that I have the opportunity to be here now."
Hoheisel then had to experience another horrific event when four members of the Oklahoma State University family lost their lives in a plane crash this past November.
The victims included OSU women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna, two people that Hoheisel worked with every day.
"Obviously at first, there's the shock and the stun, and even a surreal feeling," Hoheisel said. "That lasted for quite a while."
The event was tough to swallow for not only Hoheisel and Budke's players, but also the entire Oklahoma State community. The crash came only ten years after a plane crash killed 10 members of the OSU men's basketball team in 2001.
Hoheisel was just as down as everyone else surrounded by the accident. He had to try and coach a team who had just lost its coach, and its leader. He decided that he needed to talk to someone that could relate to the situation.
So, he called his dad.
"My dad had lost his head coach, and his best friend too," Hoheisel said. "We talked about what he went through at that time, and how you have to press on. One of the first things he asked was if Coach Budke was a tough guy. I said yes, and told him the he demanded a lot from the team. So my dad told me that you guys have to keep moving, if that's the type of guy that Coach Budke was."
With such a vast experience of weightlifting over the course of his life, Hoheisel had obviously gained plenty of physical strength. But after he talked with his dad, he grasped what he learned in the conversation and used his weightlifter's mentality to apply it to his job.
He pushes his players to stay strong. If his players get down, he reassures them to keep at it and stay motivated. He encourages his team to band together and use its team chemistry as a driving force.
He took the advice and ran with it.
"If Coach Budke was the type of person that kept charging on through tough times no matter what, then that is what you have to do as a staff," Hoheisel said. "You have to keep them moving, keep them going. If they need somebody to talk to, talk to them. You have to show them some love."
Hoheisel had only known Budke and Serna for a short time, but he had grown strong relationships with the two from doing what they do best: coaching.
"Coach Budke was great to me," Hoheisel said. "He trusted me, he respected me and he had faith in me. He turned over the coaching reigns on my side of things and simply asked me to show results. I couldn't have asked for a better guy to work for."
With the team off to a perfect 5-0 start, Hoheisel and the rest of the staff have answered Budke's request, and shown plenty of results.
Hoheisel has also shown results by keeping his team strong through hard times, and keeping them strong in a Coach Budke way.
"The kids have come together and have been there for each other and have done things as hard as they can, as if Coach Budke was still here, and as how coach would want it," Hoheisel said.