OSU holds memorial for plane crash victims

STILLWATER, Okla. -- In another emotional day on the Oklahoma State University campus, thousands gathered at Gallagher-Iba Arena to remember four members of the OSU family and to support one another during yet another tragedy.

In the very arena where Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna coached for the past seven years, thousands of OSU supporters gathered to remember them as well as the pilot of the plane, former state senator Olin Branstetter, and his wife, Paula.

It's an incomprehensible loss to fans who watched the coaches take the Cowgirls from a 0 and 16 record to the Sweet 16.

"I think that's probably when it will sink in," said April Boyd, OSU fan.  "When we see that they are not on the sideline."

The coaches were regarded as mentors to their students and friends to their colleagues.

"It's not just about basketball," said Kim Mulkey, Baylor University head women's basketball coach.  "It's just a game, really.  And it makes you reflect on your life and make sure you have your priorities straight and make sure you have perspective in your life."

Now, the Cowgirls and OSU fans are taking time to grieve and remember those who were lost.

Just as they did 10 years earlier when 10 members of the men's basketball program were killed in a plane crash in Colorado, the OSU community will come together and they will heal.

"This tragedy is horrible," said Jim Littell, interim coach for the Cowgirls.  "We have suffered a great loss.  Two coaches dedicated to their jobs paid the ultimate cost.  We will miss them on the sidelines as they coached the ladies we love.  But now God has taken them home.  They will coach from up above."

OSU students will hold a candlelight vigil Monday night at 8 p.m. at the Student Union.

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