STILLWATER — With one directing Oklahoma State's men's basketball team and the other leading its women's, Travis Ford and Kurt Budke were always close.
They shared stories, discussed schemes and attended each other's games.
That's why, after a November plane crash killed Budke and three others tied to the university, Ford was so distraught, even brought to tears in initial interviews.
Now, nearly 10 months removed the tragedy, Ford is helping keep the Budke surname alive within Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Alex Budke, Kurt's oldest son, will join the Cowboys basketball team this season as a walk-on.
“I heard that he was going to be coming to OSU this semester, and we connected and I wanted to see if he wanted to walk-on,” Ford said. “It was something he definitely wanted to do, so we are excited to have him as part of the team, absolutely.”
After a great high school career at Stillwater, Alex Budke signed with St Gregory's, a NAIA program in Shawnee. Last season, as a freshman, he played in 12 games for the Cavaliers.
But emotionally, it was a rough year, with his mind stuck in Stillwater with his family.
So Alex decided, after the season, he would transfer to OSU.
“Being closer to my family (was a big reason),” Alex said. “A lot of different reasons led me back here.”
Not wanting his basketball career to end, he got a hold of Ford, one of his father's close friends.