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November 18, 2011

Bedlam takes back seat in wake of tragedy; Coale ‘devastated’

Bedlam was put on hold Friday. The heated rivalry between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State became insignificant when tragedy occurs. That was the case Friday after the announcement that OSU women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna died in a plane crash Thursday.

Compasion was all the Sooners felt for their in-state rivals Friday.

“I am devastated by the tragic news of the deaths of Kurt and Miranda,” Sooner women's basketball coach Sherri Coale said in a statement Friday morning. “Kurt was a fantastic basketball coach and he was a tremendous competitor. More importantly, though, he was a devoted father and husband, and a humble but courageous leader of young people.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to Kurt’s wife, Shelley, and their children, and to Miranda’s family, and the families of the other victims as well. Additionally, we are praying for the entire Oklahoma State women’s basketball family.”  

Coale's sentiments mirrored what many at OU were feeling Friday. Many Sooner athletes took to Twitter to express what they were feeling.

“Praying for the entire OSU family. Life is so precious. We love you all and are with you through this,” OU guard Whitney Hand wrote on Twitter.

“Praying for the whole OSU family! Life is just too short. We are all with you through this tough time,” former OU point Danielle Robinson via Twitter.

The expressions of sadness and support went well beyond those involved in women's basketball. Men's basketball players, football players also expressed their condolences on Friday.

“OSU is our rival, but if you have a heart you have to be saddened by this! Entire university will be in my prayers!” Sooner forward Romero Osby said on his Twitter account.

“Prayers for OSU,” OU defensive back Tony Jefferson said via Twitter. “That's not something you wanna wake up to. Sending my love to Stillwater.”

The Sooners and Cowboys are 16 days away from what it is setting up to be the most highly anticipated Bedlam game in a series that's been going on for more than a century. The tragic deaths of Budke and Serna will obviously cast a cloud on the game.

Unfortunately, it won't be the first time the teams met after a tragic event at Oklahoma State.

It was nearly 11 years ago that a plane carrying two OSU men's basketball players, two members of its radio broadcast team, three members of the team's support staff and the two pilots crashed in a snow storm in Byers, Colo.

BCS executive director Bill Hancock's son, Will, was one of the 10 killed in the crash.

“Please keep Budke and Serna families in your thoughts,” Hancock tweeted Friday morning. “This is heartbreaking. Hug the people you love. Often.”

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