Oklahoma State has issued a statement that Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna have been killed in a plane crash Thursday night. Budke serves as the head coach of the women's basketball team and Serna an assistant.
Kurt Budke started his seventh year with Oklahoma State with a 96-60 win over Rice on Sunday. The deaths of Budke and Serna come just 10 months after the school remembered the 10-year anniversary of another plane crash that claimed the lives of 10 people associated with men's basketball program.
Budke and Serna were on a recruiting trip when their plane when down about 45 miles outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. The cause of the crash is still not known as it claimed a total of four people, which was everyone on the plane. ESPN broke the story early this morning with the press release from Oklahoma State.
An FAA spokesperson along with Perry County Sheriff's Department stated that the two were traveling on a single-engine Piper PA-28. They also said that the plane went down around 7:00pm, Thursday night and the skies were clear with temperatures in the 30-40 degree range. The plane went down just 4 miles south of Perryville in the Winona Wildlife Management Area. The FAA stated that while they have sent investigators it could take up to 9 months to determine the cause.
Oklahoma State Men's Head Coach Travis Ford issued a statement saying, "I just found out and there are so many unanswered questions. I just saw him. We talked every single day. He came to my shootarounds. It just doesn't seem real. It doesn't seem real. It doesn't seem real." Ford said he found out at 6 this morning and went directly over to Budke's home.
Budke, who just turned 50, leaves behind a wife, Shelley, as well as a daughter Sara, who is attending Oklahoma State, and two sons, Alex and Brett.
OSU President Burns Hargis issued a statement Friday morning saying, "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."
The school has canceled the team's next two games while Associate Head Coach Jim Littell takes over as the interim head coach.