Oklahoma State women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna died on Thursday when their small plane crashed in Perry County, Arkansas. The pilot and one other passenger aboard the plane were also killed.
The crash is the second major tragedy for the sports program in about a decade. In January 2001, 10 men affiliated with the university’s men’s basketball team died in a Colorado plane crash.
The 50-year-old Budke took a winless Oklahoma State program, 6 years ago, to a perennial NCAA tournament contender. The Cowboys earned NCAA bids three times in the past five years, making their second 'Sweet 16' appearance in 2008.
Serna joined her ex-coach's staff at Louisiana Tech and stayed with him when he made the move to Oklahoma State in 2005. Serna served as Oklahoma State's recruiting coordinator and assistant coach.
Oklahoma State has canceled the two games its women's basketball team was supposed to play against Grambling State on Saturday and Texas-Arlington on Sunday. Associate head coach Jim Littell will take over as interim head coach when the school decides to resume its season.
"The Oklahoma State family is devastated by this tragedy," Oklahoma State president Burns Hargis said Friday in the statement. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and the other victims."