Tragedy has again struck the Oklahoma State University athletic department.
For the second time in 11 years, an airplane carrying OSU basketball officials crashed, leaving no survivors. KOCO in Oklahoma City is reporting that head women's coach Kurt Budke, assistant women's coach Miranda Serna and two other individuals not affiliated with the university, including the pilot, were killed when their small plane went down Thursday night in Perry County, Arkansas. Budke and Serna were on a recruiting trip, according to a university statement.
"The Oklahoma State family is devastated by this tragedy," said OSU President Burns Hargis. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and the other victims.
"Coach Budke elevated our women's basketball program to new levels of success. He and his staff raised our profile in the nation's toughest conference.
"Miranda was an up-and-coming coach and an outstanding role model for our young ladies."
In January 2001, a small plane carrying two OSU men's basketball players and six others affiliated with the team crashed in a farm field 30 miles east of Denver. The pilot and copilot also were killed. It was one of three planes transporting the Cowboys' entourage back to Stillwater after a game against the University of Colorado.
As part of the school's healing process, a bronze statue of a kneeling Cowboy with hat in hand was dedicated Feb. 23, 2002.