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“I’ve known Kurt for many years and enjoyed watching his success all along the way,” Tennessee coach Pat Summitt said. “He was a great guy and a wonderful family man. He had such a great passion for teaching and coaching the game of women’s basketball.”

Budke coached Serna and Trinity Valley to a junior college national title in 1996. Serna went on to play for Houston before returning to the community college to become an assistant coach under Budke. He kept Serna on his staff when he went to Louisiana Tech and Oklahoma State. She was the recruiting coordinator for the Cowgirls.

While Mitchell didn’t play with Serna at Trinity Valley, she got to know her through the years on the recruiting trail.

Miranda was a really great person,” Mitchell said. “She worked hard and believed in him. That’s why she stayed. She had some opportunities to look at some other jobs, but she wanted to bring in players and help him win at Oklahoma State.”

Baylor coach Kim Mulkey said the deaths would have a wide impact.

“There’s a bigger picture out there and it’s not a basketball game. It puts life in perspective.” Mulkey said. “I feel for the Oklahoma State community. How many more tragedies can they endure?”

Mitchell was an assistant coach at Oklahoma State in 2001 when 10 people affiliated with the university’s men’s basketball team died in a Colorado plane crash.

“You want to say that program’s cursed,” she said. “For it to happen again, I truly can’t describe how I feel.”


AP Sports Writer Jeff Latzke in Stillwater, Okla., contributed to this report.


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