Bryan Painter's emotional interview with former Oklahoma State player Megan Byford (2007-09) speaks volumes about how deeply coaches Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna touched people's lives in their role as coaches and mentors since arriving in Stillwater in 2005.
There is plenty of basketball to talk about today, but first some reactions to the shocking loss of Byford's former coaches in a plane crash discovered Thursday afternoon.
- The Oklahoman reported who the other two victims were: former state Senator Olin Branstetter, 82, and his wife, Paula. From the same article, OSU President Kurt Hargis said, "Coach Budke elevated our women's basketball program to new levels of success." The university has cancelled its games for Saturday and Sunday. Read more >>>
- KFOR-TV (who broadcast the OSU press conference this morning) has reactions from everyone from Oklahoma women's basketball coach Sherri Coale and the entire OU athletics department. Coale: "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." Read more >>>
- Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reflects on how coaching in the Big 12 was a dream of his that he was willing to leave a successful Louisiana Tech program for. Budke grew up in Kansas. Read more >>>
- Greg Hilburn of the News Star spoke with former Louisiana Tech coach Leon Barmore, who Budke succeeded before heading to Oklahoma State with Serna. Barmore echoed the sentiments of almost everyone else who has been reached for comment: "Everybody loved Kurt." Read more >>>
- Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle spoke with Rice coach Greg Williams who has known Budke for years and just coached against him three days ago in Stillwater. Williams first met Budke while he was coaching at Trinity Valley Community College and Serna when he tried to recruit her. Read more >>>
- Jimmie Tramel of the Tulsa World shares comments from an ESPN phone interview with former Oklahoma State 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 celebrated the lives of the 10 that were lost that here we are again." Read more >>>
- The Corsicana Daily Sun briefly summarizes Budke's success as a coach at Trinity Valley Community College in the 1990s. Serna was a former TVCC player. Read more >>>
- Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press summed up Budke's career most concisely: "Wherever Budke went, he won." Read more >>>
- Brian Agler and Ashley Robinson of the Seattle Storm have offered their thoughts on Twitter. From Robinson: "RIP Coach Budke. U left your mark on basketball in Texas. You will be missed. Praying for the Trinity Valley CC and OSU fam." From Agler >>>
- SB Nation's Oklahoma Sooners site Crimson and Cream Machine put aside the rivalry to offer their thoughts: "Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these two coaches and the others who lost their lives in this horrific crash." Read more >>>
- SBN has a storystream up with major updates as this story unfolds. Read more >>>
On a more personal note, all of what I know about Budke is from conversations with Jessica Lantz who has covered OSU for Swish Appeal since winter 2010. While I won't speak for her, what strikes me in reflecting on those conversations in this moment is that everything she ever said about him was positive. But perhaps even more significant now is that knowing Jessica really helps to understand what people mean when they say OSU is a family - there's a legitimate caring for one another there that is as strong as everyone is suggesting. So my heart goes out to Jessica and the entire OSU family today as they try to pull together to cope with this tragedy.
Update: Condolences from various SBN Big 12 blogs: