Reactions to deaths of Budke, Serna

Updated: November 18, 2011, 11:56 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Oklahoma State women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna died in a plane crash Thursday night, resulting in an outpouring of memories from around the sports world:

Oklahoma State men's basketball coach Travis Ford: "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."

Retired Louisiana Tech women's basketball coach Leon Barmore: "This is so unbelievable, the death of Kurt Budke and Miranda. Kurt was a true friend to me. I loved Kurt and he loved me and I know that with all my heart. This was a family man on the highest level. Kurt loved wife Shelley, daughter Sara, sons Brett and Alex and I know he deeply loved his parents. I will never understand why God called this man home so early, I will just never understand. We will miss him."

OSU president Burns Hargis: "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."

Oklahoma women's basketball coach 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."

Texas A&M women's basketball coach 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. ... 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.

UC Santa Barbara coach Carlene Mitchell played for Budke at Trinity Valley: "He was so proud (when I was hired at UC Santa Barbara). He put in a ton of calls for me and I remember him yelling and screaming in his country drawl when I told him I got it."

Louisiana Tech star Betty Lennox was recruited by Budke: "I dropped down into tears. It was very difficult and I had to walk away for a couple minutes. I picked up my phone and tried to call him and that was a mistake. He definitely taught me several things. One thing that stood out to me was to be who I am. If I won't be who I am, I won't be successful. He taught me to be a go-getter, to believe in myself. I was able to pick up the phone and call him any time of the day and he was there, open and positive. I will miss him for those type of things, not just on the court."

NCAA president Mark Emmert: "On behalf of the NCAA, I want to express my deepest sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna and the other victims of last night's plane crash. For any coaching community to lose bright stars like Kurt and Miranda is tragic. This is a profound loss for the Oklahoma State women's basketball family, the entire university and future women's basketball players as well. The NCAA stands ready to help Oklahoma State should it need any assistance as it copes with this terrible accident."

ESPN radio show host and former OSU point guard Doug Gottlieb: "It doesn't seem fair or real or possible that ... 10 months removed from the 10-year anniversary in which we celebrate the lives of the 10 that were lost, that here we are again. It doesn't seem right it could happen to anyone, let alone the same university."

Former OSU coach Eddie Sutton: "It was 10 years ago and 10 months. Kurt Budke was a wonderful coach. This is just another catastrophe. If I know the pilot then I have been more confident getting on private aircraft then commercial. This is a reminder. Not a day goes by that I don't think of it. And this brings it all back."

Baylor women's basketball coach 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. ... 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? ... 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."

Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt: "I've known Kurt for many years and enjoyed watching his success all along the way. He was a great guy and a wonderful family man. He had such a great passion for teaching and coaching the game of women's basketball. Obviously, Miranda was a highly respected assistant coach and had a promising career ahead of her. It is just so terribly sad that we had to lose them. Tennessee will be keeping Oklahoma State, the family and friends of Kurt and Miranda in our thoughts and prayers. Our hearts go out to them."

UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma: "This just hits you right between the eyes. I had gotten to know him in junior college. He had done a great, great job in junior college. The whole time at Louisiana Tech and Oklahoma State I don't think there isn't any coach in the country that doesn't know Kurt. ... When I heard it, my first reaction was, how are the players? How are they going to handle that? It's the equivalent of losing a parent when you talk about the amount of time you are with them. I had a former player lose both parents in a private plane accident. It's indescribable. Who cares about the basketball, but it's about the relationship and Kurt and Miranda's families. Conference realignment and stuff happening on college campuses, but all of a sudden it numbs you."

Stanford women's basketball coach Tara VanDerveer: "It's devastating. I clearly remember a conversation I had on the road with him this summer. We were at the Boo Williams recruiting venue. I can picture the gym I was in, where I was on the court. I have not had a lot of conversations with him, and it just so happened that we were standing together. We visited and I remember going away from that thinking that I was so pleasantly impressed by it. He was very complimentary of our team. I remember it clearly. I am just so sad for his family and Miranda's family."

Kansas men's basketball coach and former OSU player Bill Self: "Our hearts go out to the Budke, Serna and entire OSU families. No school has suffered and endured more than Oklahoma State University in recent memory. Kurt was a terrific guy and coach. We wish the best to the immediate and extended families as they comfort each other during this tragic time."

Kansas women's basketball coach 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."

TCU women's basketball coach Jeff Mittie: "I am truly saddened by the loss of my good friends, Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna. They were longtime friends and outstanding coaches in this profession, but even better people. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and the entire Oklahoma State family. They will be greatly missed, but always remembered."

Interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas: "While college athletics thrives on competition, we are a family when tragedy strikes. Oklahoma State and the families of those killed in the plane crash are in the thoughts and prayers of all of us in the Big 12 Conference."

Oklahoma football coach Bob Stoops: "We want everyone at OSU to know that they have our prayers and support. Like them, we fail in finding the words that adequately capture our feelings. We feel devastated for the families that have been impacted, the Cowgirl basketball team, the athletics department and the entire university community. We share in your grief and sadness."

Oklahoma men's basketball coach Lon Kruger: "This is tragic news and an extremely sad day. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Budke and Serna families, as well as the families of the other victims. I'd known Kurt for many years and always admired and respected him for his work as a basketball coach and for the type of person he was. We're all thinking about everyone in the Oklahoma State family affected by this terrible tragedy."

Oklahoma president David L. Boren: "All of us at the University of Oklahoma extend our deepest sympathy to the families and loved ones of Coaches Budke and Serna and those who lost their lives in the plane crash. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We are sadden by this tragic loss for the entire OSU community."

Oklahoma vice president/athletics director Joe Castiglione: "We are profoundly saddened by the loss of Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and their traveling companions. The people at Oklahoma State are our colleagues and, more importantly, our friends. The OU family pledges its support to those at OSU. We understand that the period for grieving and recovery will be difficult and want them to know that they do not face it alone. As fellow Oklahomans, we want them to know that our hearts are broken too."

Women's Basketball Coaches Association CEO Beth Bass: "The entire women's basketball coaching community is stunned and deeply saddened by the news from Stillwater this morning. Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna were our colleagues and friends. I've known Kurt since he was at Trinity Valley Community College. I just can't believe it. Our thoughts and prayers are with Oklahoma State University; the Oklahoma State athletic program; the Cowgirls coaches, players and staff; and the family and friends of Kurt, Miranda and the other individuals who died in this tragic accident."

Kansas athletic director Sheahon Zenger: "Words cannot adequately express the sorrow we feel for the friends and families of Coaches Budke and Serna. Our hearts go out to the entire Oklahoma State family."

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