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Memorial at OSU's Gallagher-Iba Arena for Budke and Serna held where it meant the most

The somber occasion brought back memories of the plane crash that killed 10 members of OSU men's basketball traveling party on Jan. 27, 2001. A similar memorial was staged a few days later in Gallagher-Iba.
by Berry Tramel Published: November 22, 2011

As Hargis left the arena Monday, he stopped to speak with Birdwell.

“Did you ever think we'd be here again?” Birdwell asked Hargis.

Responded Hargis, “I'm just worried that God thinks we can handle it.”

OSU handles this heavy burden by binding together. Birdwell grew emotional afterward talking about Budke.

“When you stumble through life, how many people do you really know who believe what they say they believe and live it?” Birdwell said.

“It was just apparent to me that so many young women look for someone willing to make them believe in themselves.”

Belief and dreams were a common theme of those who talked about Budke.

Ally Clardy, who played for Budke from 2006-10, said Budke's trademark orange sportcoat displayed his pride in OSU.

“After he busted out that jacket, I always asked him when he was going to pull it out again,” Clardy said. “He'd say, ‘Oh, don't worry, it's charged. I charged it overtime.'”

Clardy said Budke loved Gallagher-Iba Arena, “loved all that orange. His dream was made when he made it here. What's crazy is he made our dream come true by being here.”

Clardy stood with former teammates Megan Byford, Shaunte Smith and Taylor Hardeman as Hardeman spoke at the service.

Also speaking were OSU athletic director Mike Holder; interim coach Jim Littell, Budke's longtime friend; and Hargis.

“Players come here and dream,” Holder said. “Coaches are supposed to make those dreams come true. … I can tell you with great joy, the dream's still alive.”

Hargis said the best coaches and teachers are those who teach their athletes and students how to believe in themselves.

Hargis said Budke and Serna would tell their players today, “This game is not over. We can win. We taught you how. We can't be on the court with you, you'll have to win yourself.

“We love you, we believe in you. Go Pokes.”

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by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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