As second-ranked Oklahoma State prepare for their road game against Iowa State, there will be thoughts that go beyond football, as the school has been stricken with tragic news on Thursday afternoon.
On a recruiting trip to Arkansas, women's head basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna were killed in a single-engine plane crash.
The pilot, former Oklahoma state senator Olin Branstetter, and his wife, Paula, also were killed. The crash, which had no survivors, reportedly occured in the Winona Wildlife Management Area near Perryville, about 45 miles west of LIttle Rock.
The Oklahoma State family is devastated by this tragedy, said OSU president Burns Hargins said, in a statement.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of Kurt Budke, Miranda Serna and the other victims. Kurt was an exemplary leader and a man of character who had a profound impact on his student-athletes. He was an outstanding coach and a wonderful person. We send our deepest sympathies to his wife, Shelley, and their children, Sara, Alex and Brett.
The university said the women's team would not play games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday.
In January 2001, 10 men affiliated with the university's men's basketball team died in a plane crash during a snow storm near Byers, Colorado. Two of the victims were players: Daniel Lawson and Nate Fleming.
The football team will play their reguarly scheduled game on Friday night. The schools have discussed plans to hold a moment of silence for the victims.
We are very sad to learn of the death of Coach Budke and Coach Serna, Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy said in a statement. We are a tight family at OSU. Our coaches are very close, and we pull for each other. They both always had encouraging words and were excited about our season. Our prayers go out to the families and team.