Kurt Budke
Kurt Budke
Head Coach

Alma Mater:
Washburn University, 1984


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Oklahoma State University women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant women's basketball coach Miranda Serna were killed along with two others Thursday night in a plane crash in Perry County, Arkansas.

During his six seasons in Stillwater, Kurt Budke has orchestrated one of the most remarkable turnarounds ever witnessed on the college basketball landscape. As head coach of the Oklahoma State women's program, he has elevated the Cowgirls to the national stage and provided a consistent postseason presence for the first time in more than a decade.

Under his direction, OSU has made postseason appearances in each of the past five seasons after reaching the second round of the WNIT in 2011.

Year five of the Budke Era saw the Cowgirls log 24 wins, including a school-record six victories against Top 25 teams, achieve a top-10 national ranking for the first time ever and reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The NCAA berth was the Cowgirls' third under Budke and capped the most successful stretch in program history with OSU winning 88 times during that span.

The 2009-10 season also brought to a close the career of the most decorated player to ever don a Cowgirl uniform in Andrea Riley. Under Budke's tutelage, Riley scored 2,835 points, more than anybody in Big 12 history and the 13th-best tally in NCAA history. The 2010 Nancy Lieberman Award winner as the nation's top point guard, Riley also became the program's first-ever WNBA draft pick, going to Los Angeles at No. 8.

Budke transformed a program that endured a winless conference season in 2005-06 into a league title contender and NCAA Sweet 16 participant just two years later.

Adding to the magnitude of the program's resurgence is the degree of difficulty under which the feat was performed. Competing in the Big 12 Conference, OSU's resurgence occurred in one of the nation's deepest and most talented conferences.

The 2007-08 season proved to be a historic journey for Budke's squad as it matched the school record with 27 wins. The Cowgirls also made just their second-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament's round of 16 and their first Big 12 Championship title game appearance.

Budke mentored the program's second All-America product in Andrea Riley as well as an Academic All-American in Danielle Green.

The Cowgirls' win total is not the only number to increase under Budke as the squad's following has steadily increased. With the OSU faithful flocking to Gallagher-Iba Arena, the historic venue has once again become a true home-court advantage.

Budke's squad won a school-record 14 games on the famed maple floor in front of record crowds, including the program's first-ever sellout as 13,611 witnessed the Cowgirls' win over in-state rival Oklahoma.

Prior to his arrival in Stillwater, Kurt Budke's three previous coaching stops all had one thing in common--resounding success. After 2006-07, Oklahoma State became the fourth institution to prosper under his tutelage.

Marred by a 17-game losing streak to end the 2005-06 season and four consecutive single-digit seasons in the win column, tallying the school's eighth 20-win season and snaring an NCAA Tournament berth seemed far from reach.

However, Budke's charges had the feat squarely in the crosshairs. Not only did the Cowgirls reach the 20-win plateau and appear in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996, OSU stockpiled an impressive list of accomplishments.

Among the achievements that accompanied the squad during its march to the postseason was the halting of its 31-game road losing streak with a win over Hawaii in the title game of the Hawaii Invitational.

Two weeks later, the Cowgirls snapped their 26-game road losing streak against conference foes in one of the most unlikely of venues, emerging as the only team to win at Iowa State during the 2006-07 season.

The Cowgirls were able to turn the corner in their second year with a blend of up-tempo offense and solid defense as Budke's transformation showed up statistically at both ends of the floor. For the first time since the 1996-97 season, OSU averaged more than 70 points per game. On the flip side, the Cowgirls held the opposition under 60 points per game for the first time since the 1997-98 campaign.

In his first 12 seasons as a college head coach, Budke knew nothing but championship-caliber production on the court from Allen County Community College to Trinity Valley Community College before his stopover at tradition-laden Louisiana Tech.

Prior to his move to the Big 12 Conference, Budke's squads won at least 20 games in each season under his direction and reached double figures in the loss column only once under his watch.

The veteran coach's challenge came in the form of revitalizing an Oklahoma State program that last made a postseason appearance in 2001. However, Budke has not been one to shy away from challenges, having followed in the footsteps of legendary Louisiana Tech coach Leon Barmore to lead the Lady Techster program for three years.

Budke's coaching journey began in 1984 where he served as a graduate assistant at Washburn University before taking an assistant coaching position at Friends University.

The Salina, Kan., native landed his first head coaching position at Allen County with a two-year stint that generated a 47-15 mark. Budke's initial season produced a 22-8 record and a No. 17 national ranking during the 1991-92 season. Budke was named the Jayhawk East Conference's coach of the year after his charges tallied a 25-7 record during the 1992-93 season.

Budke made the move to Trinity Valley before the 1993-94 season and compiled 226 wins against just 16 losses while leading the Lady Cardinals to four national championships and two national runner-up finishes in seven seasons. A 35-1 record and a national championship during his inaugural season began a string of six consecutive championship game appearances, a National Junior College Athletic Association record.

During his seven-year stint, TVCC was equally dominant against conference foes, posting a 96-2 record in Texas East Conference games and claiming seven straight conference titles.

At the junior college level, Budke had a combined record of 273-31 (.898), resulting in the highest winning percentage in NJCAA history. He was the NJCAA National Coach of the Year in both 1995 and 1998 and was the Texas Coaches Association Coach of the Year in 1994, 1996, 1997 and 1999. In addition, he is the youngest coach to ever be inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame.

The 2000-01 campaign marked his move to the Division I level as well with the first of his two seasons as associate head coach in Ruston with the Louisiana Tech program. The Lady Techsters posted a combined 56-10 mark highlighted by an NCAA Elite Eight appearance in 2001 during that span.

After taking over the program in 2002-03, the Lady Techsters did not skip a beat, compiling an 80-16 record with three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances under Budke's leadership.

During his first season at the helm, he inherited a team that had graduated five seniors and three starters and had nine newcomers on his first roster. In his very first game as head coach at Tech, he guided his team to an 85-76 win over seventh-ranked Texas Tech. Budke's first Louisiana Tech team finished with a 31-3 record and was ranked sixth in the final poll.

During that inaugural season, the Lady Techsters reeled off 29 consecutive wins, the fourth-longest streak in school history, and also reached the regional semifinals. Budke was named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for his efforts.

Budke's 2003-04 team finished second in the NCAA in scoring offense at 82.4 points per game. The Lady Techsters claimed both the regular season WAC title and the postseason tournament title.

During the 2004-05 season, Louisiana Tech finished with a 20-10 record and was co-champions of the WAC. His 2003-04 team fashioned a 29-3 record, defeated sixth-ranked Penn State, snapping a 24-game home winning streak and also defeated Montana, snapping a 22-game home winning streak.

His third season at Tech also produced the latest Budke-coached player to reach the professional ranks as well with Erica Taylor going in the second round of the 2005 WNBA Draft to the Washington Mystics. In addition to Taylor, Budke coached 2000 WNBA Rookie of the Year Betty Lennox, 2003 WNBA Rookie of the Year Cheryl Ford as well as fellow WNBA players Shalonda Ennis, Tausha Mills and Shantia Owens during their collegiate careers.

Budke earned a bachelor's degree in physical education from Washburn in 1984 before adding a master of science degree from Wichita State in 1985. As a player, he earned all-conference honors at Barton County Junior College in 1981.

Budke was born June 3, 1961 and is married to the former Shelley Balthazor. They have three children; Sara, who is a student at OSU, Alex and Brett.

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