Big 12 women's basketball coaches react to the deaths of Oklahoma State women's coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna, who were killed in a plane crash Thursday afternoon while on a recruiting trip.
Texas A&M's Gary Blair:
“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.”
Baylor's Kim Mulkey:
“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 (Leon) 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.”
Texas Tech's Kristy Curry:
"Our staff is extremely heartbroken and devastated this morning to hear about Kurt and Miranda. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families, staff, team and the entire Oklahoma State family.
"Kurt was not only a great basketball coach, but an even better husband and dad. I have learned a lot through the years from Kurt on keeping the game in perspective. Any time we saw each other, sent a text or called, the first thing he would ask me is how Kelly and the girls were doing. He loved his family and treated his players and staff as a family.
"Miranda was a bright young star in our business, but beyond that just a tremendous young lady. There are no words that can adequately express how we feel right now. It truly puts the game of basketball in perspective."
Oklahoma's Sherri Coale:
"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.”
Kansas' Bonnie Henrickson:
“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.”