Oklahoma State women's basketball coach
Oklahoma State made its fifth straight postseason appearance under Kurt Budke this season despite featuring no players with more than one season of Division I women's basketball experience.
Before arriving in Stillwater, Budke won four national championships at Trinity Valley Community College and coached Louisiana Tech to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
He is the youngest coach ever inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame.
My dad worked for Southwestern Bell for 47 years, but deep down he was a coach at heart. From the time I was eligible to play Pee Wee, he coached baseball, basketball and football from the time I was 6 years old until I entered junior high. My dad was a big part of my inspiration to be a coach.
I got to see him interact with kids, I got to see him change lives. We had kids on the team who couldn't have played because they didn't have a ride, and we had a little truck and we'd pick the kids up. When I look back on it, there's no doubt that sent me in the direction of coaching.
That's what I think (coaching) is all about. Developing kids and taking them from kids to adults. I really enjoy the progression you see as a coach from someone who comes in as a freshman to (who they are) as a senior.
My style and how I coach I've taken more from Jerry Mullen than anything else. He showed me the intensity this game has to be attacked with, every day. There are no days off, winners don't have two good practices then take a day off. It's every day. He was the toughest coach I had but I knew through all the toughness that he loved me also. He had the biggest impact.
If it wasn't for 500 dollars, I'd still be on the men's side. I had been on the men's side for six years and was making $1,000 and they offered me $500 more to take over the women's team. I was getting married and didn't have any money so I thought “Why not?”
I found out real quick that boys are selfish and about making money and making a name. Girls, if they believe in you, would give you their heart and soul every single day and would not worry about who got the points or how we won.
When I was in junior college I went to (recruit at) a house in a really poor neighborhood and the brother was sitting in the living room with a pair of jeans on and we went back to get her and she came out with his pair of jeans on ... like maybe that was their best pair of jeans in the house. That kid, we changed her life, she went on to play in the WNBA and do great things. That's something I remember.
We've had our failures along with successes with (changing lives) but it's not for a lack of trying. In 1996 I suspended my leading scorer because she would not go to class and do the things we asked her to do. She went on to graduate from a four-year university.
The worst thing, by far, about my job is missing my kids' ballgames. I can never get those back.
My first year at Trinity Valley we won the national championship and in the four games at the national tournament we scored 100 points in all four games and won the championship game 105-95. That's a record that hasn't been broken, scoring 100 points in four straight games, that was as fun a year as I have had.
My first year here (was the toughest). I've never lost much in my life and we had nice kids but they weren't Big 12-level players. They gave everything they had but to go out every single night and know you didn't have a chance, we went 0-17 and that was awful tough, but we had great kids which made it bearable for all of us.