Press Conference Quotes

Nov. 18, 2011

Quotes from Oklahoma State Press Conference

Friday, November 18, 2011

OSU Director of Communications Gary Shutt

Opening Statement

"It is a terribly sad day for Oklahoma State University. Coach Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna were on a recruiting trip yesterday. They were with Olin Branstetter and Paula Branstetter. Mr. Brandstetter is a former state senator. He was the pilot. His wife is also a pilot. They were the only four aboard the aircraft. They were traveling to watch a few basketball games, in Little Rock, Ark. The recruits they were going to watch, played at 6 (p.m.) and 8 (p.m.)."

"Hunters made a 911 call around 4 (p.m. Thursday), that a plane had went down. The U.S. Forest Service and the Perry County Sheriff's Department were the first responders. They arrived at the scene of the crash around 6 (p.m). The coroner arrived on the scene at 7 (p.m.). Oklahoma State University was notified around 2:30 (a.m.). We began to notify people at that time. This is all we know at this time. The incident is being investigated. A member of the OSU athletics program and a member of the OSU Police Department are on their way to Arkansas. The plane crashed in the Ouachita (Mountains) Forest, it is a heavily wooded area."

"As we announced in this morning's press release, we will not play games Saturday and Sunday. The wrestling team is also canceling tonight's match, as well as Sunday's match.  We are making plans for a memorial service, which will probably take place on Monday. We will provide information on a memorial service at a later time. Counselors are available for the athletic staff, the basketball team and any student on campus needing help."



OSU University President Burns Hargis

Opening Statement

"This is obviously an incredibly devastating event. It's our worst nightmare. The entire OSU family is very close, and to lose anyone, and especially these two individuals who were incredible life forces in our family, is worse beyond words. Ann (Hargis) and I were with the family this morning. They need all of our prayers and all of our support. When something like this happens, and God fobid it happened again, we have to pull together."


"We don't know a lot about what happened or how it happened, but we know they're gone, at least from our prescence, but I know they're here in our hearts. I ask everyone to pull together and to support each other and the Budke family and Serna family in every way possible."

On Coaches Budke And Serna

"I think people don't fully appreciate, who are not in athletics and who are not in the coaching profession, I don't know how much they appreciate what incredible mentors these people are to their teams. I've always said coaching is a lot more about psychology than it is about the nuts and bolts of the particular sport. Our coaches guide their students in developing the life skills they need in life. I know of no one that did that better than Kurt. Ann and I were also very fond of Miranda. She is from an area of New Mexico that we know very well. She was the first in her family to go to college. They were just both beautiful people. I would love to be the man that Kurt Budke was and the person that Miranda was."


On Comparisons Of This Tragedy And The 2001 Tragedy

"I was focused on the family and this tragedy. The other was of course a monumental tragedy as well and those comparisons and reflections will come up. We pulled together then; It was a very hard time under the leadership of Jim Halligan and Coach (Eddie) Sutton. Somehow we all made it to the other side without ever forgetting. We will always remember and we will always remember Kurt and Miranda. You don't forget. Remembering is part of the whole process, and receiving inspiration from their lives, but there's nothing easy. Right now, it's a lot of hugs and a lot of tears."

OSU Associate Head Coach/Interim Head Coach Jim Littell

"Obviously, our thoughts and prayers go out to (wife) Shelly (Budke) and the kids and to Coach Serna's mom (Nettie Herrera) and dad (John Serna) and her family."

"Seven years ago when we walked through these doors and coach walked into the press conference, his zeal for Oklahoma State was uncomparable. He loved this place and loved coming in here every day. Everybody here loved the man. He was far more than just a basketball coach. Talk about a loving husband and tremendous dad. We would sit around and brag about our kids amd how much we love them and watching them grow up in a great community. This was his dream situation. Every day we would bring a recruit in, he would walk them on the court and say `Look at this place. Look at this place. I LOVE this place', and he meant it from the heart."

"Coach Budke was a ball coach. What he did to turn this program around is unbelievable, but that's not important right now. What's important is he was a father figure to these kids. He had a tremendous knack of taking kids that were maybe struggling in some part of their life and making it better for them. That was his strongest trait."

"Our kids are totally devastated. They love coach Budke and love coach Serna. A lot of the reason they are here is because of those two people. Coach Serna was a tireless worker and got those kids believing in her. Obviously they are hurting because we have lost two tremendous people from the OSU family. He was a great basketball coach but he was a better husband and a better dad and a better friend. I think all the people in this room and knew Coach Budke are better off for knowing him. He will not be forgotten, he will not be replaced and I love the man."

In a statement, OSU Vice President for Athletic Programs and Athletic Director Mike Holder

"We are beyond saddened by the terrible news this morning of the death of our women's head basketball coach, Kurt Budke, and assistant women's coach, Miranda Serna, in a plane crash last night in Arkansas while on a recruiting trip. We also mourn this morning for the pilot, former state senator and Oklahoma State alum Olin Branstetter and his wife, Paula Branstetter. Our hearts go out to the families. At Oklahoma State, we are a family and we have loss four quality people whom we loved. There will be a time to properly acknowledge the positive impact of Coach Burke and Coach Serna on our women's basketball program and our athletic department. At this moment, our thoughts and prayers are also extended to our women's basketball team and staff who were stunned by the heart-breaking news when informed this morning by assistant coach Jim Littell. We ask the OSU family and friends to lift up the families of those who were killed along with our women's basketball team members in prayer as all of us attempt to come to grips with the magnitude of the loss we have suffered at OSU. We will share more information as it becomes available."

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