2 Oklahoma State coaches, former state senator killed in plane crash
Oklahoma State University women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna were killed in Thursday's crash.
November 18th, 2011
11:52 AM ET

2 Oklahoma State coaches, former state senator killed in plane crash

[Updated at 11:52 a.m. ET] Former Oklahoma state Sen. Olin Branstetter and his wife, Paula, were among the four killed in Thursday night's fatal plane crash in Arkansas, Oklahoma State University spokesman Gary Schutt told reporters Friday.

The other two victims were earlier identified as Oklahoma State University women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant women's basketball coach Miranda Serna.


[Updated at 10:17 a.m. ET] Oklahoma State University women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant women's basketball coach Miranda Serna were killed Thursday night in a plane crash in Arkansas, the university confirmed Friday.

Two others - including the pilot - also were killed in the crash in Perry County, Arkansas. Those victims were not affiliated with the university, and there were no survivors. The university did not provide any information on the cause of the crash.

Budke and Serna were on a recruiting trip, the university said in a statement.

“The Oklahoma State family is devastated by this tragedy,” OSU President Burns Hargis said in the statement. “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and the other victims."

“Kurt was an exemplary leader and a man of character who had a profound impact on his student-athletes,” 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 an up-and-coming coach and an outstanding role model for our young ladies,” Hargis said.

KOCO: Oklahoma State devastated by tragedy, university president says

The school said associate head coach Jim Littell would become interim head coach. The team will not play games scheduled Saturday and Sunday, the school said.

Budke, in his seventh season as OSU coach, had a record of 112-83 and five postseason appearances at the school. Last season, the team earned its first-ever top-10 national ranking and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The crash comes nearly 11 years after a plane crash killed people affiliated with OSU's men's basketball team. Two OSU men's basketball players, six others affiliated with the team and a pilot and copilot were killed when a small plane crashed in a farm field 30 miles east of Denver in January 2001. That aircraft was one of three carrying the men's basketball team and others from the school back to Stillwater, Oklahoma, after a game against the University of Colorado.

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Filed under: Basketball • College basketball • Oklahoma • Sports
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Oklahoma Native OU Alumni

    This is a horrible tragedy to any decent human being, regardless of one's university affiliation! Lives were lost! These families will never be the same. Everybody loses! GOD bless these families and those who knew them. People need to have some respect!

    November 18, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Geraldine

    Condolences to the families and colleagues of the deceased. I know they were loved and will be missed. May they rest in eternal peace and may eternal light shine upon them.

    Please, I understand how difficult it is to just ignore the ignorant who come to post at times like this, but please try not to fuel their self consuming evil fire with comments. It only keeps the hate going.

    November 18, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. MarcT

    hey wall st,

    someday we will have the incredible satisfaction of remembering your post upon your death.

    November 18, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sunny Murchison


    November 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    My sympathy to the family and friends of all who was involved in this accident.

    November 18, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  6. s kel

    were they right wing obama hating wanting the President of the United States killed tea party members? If so good im glad they are gone. If not than its sad news. For all comments on what I just wrote look at the other blogs on the White House shooter, death wishes to all right wing hate mongers.

    November 18, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Maddox

    S kel, they were women's basketball coaches, for heaven's sake...not real appropriate...

    November 18, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. s kel

    ok maddox.....sorry ,still mad at the other blogs making light of or even hopeing for the Presidents death, any President, Dem.or Rep.

    November 18, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. s kel


    November 18, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
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