Oklahoma State men's basketball: Alex Budke returns to his OSU family

The son of the late Kurt Budke, Alex transferred from St. Gregory's for an opportunity to walk on at Oklahoma State. And for the opportunity to return home to Gallagher-Iba, where his dad, killed in a plane crash a year ago Saturday, delivered the women's program to respectability.
by John Helsley Published: November 14, 2012
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photo - Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford stands next to Alex Budke during a timeout during the college basketball game between Oklahoma State University and Ottawa (Kan.) at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla., Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford stands next to Alex Budke during a timeout during the college basketball game between Oklahoma State University and Ottawa (Kan.) at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Okla., Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Gallagher-Iba Arena always felt like home for Alex Budke.

Now more than ever.

The son of the late Kurt Budke, Alex transferred from St. Gregory's for an opportunity to walk on at Oklahoma State. And for the opportunity to return home to Gallagher-Iba, where his dad, killed in a plane crash a year ago Saturday, delivered the women's program to respectability.

“It's a great feeling to come out on the floor in orange before all the, well, we call them family,” Alex said.

It's always been that sort of relationship between the Budkes and OSU. A beloved coach and his family, welcomed and embraced by the community and fan base.

Alex's color of choice — like his sister Sara, brother Brett and mother Shelley — naturally was orange. The fit is even more special now, with Alex in uniform, playing inside the grand old building where his dad did so much good work with the Cowgirls.

“It's something I always wanted,” Alex said of playing for the Cowboys. “Realistically, coming out of high school I knew I wasn't a scholarship player here. But being in a uniform, I've seen all these other great players wear is really fun, and special.”

A first-team All-Centennial Conference pick as a senior at Stillwater High, Budke kept his basketball career alive at St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, playing in 12 games there as a freshman a year ago.

“St. Greg's was a blast,” Alex said. “At the time I committed, I wasn't sure if that was the best decision or not. But after going there a year, it definitely was. I have no regrets about going to St. Greg's. The people there are great. The coaching staff is great. I still keep in contact with them now. And I wish them the best.”

The loss of his father changed things for Alex, with Stillwater and his family foremost in his mind.

“That was a big, big factor of why I came back, to be close to the family and help out as much as I can,” Alex said. “That was probably the main factor in coming back.”


by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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One year later

As the one-year anniversary of the plane crash killed Oklahoma State women's basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant Miranda Serna and program supporters Olin and Paula Branstetter approaches, The Oklahoman looks at the lives of those affected by the crash.

Wednesday: Nettie Herrera still mourns her daughter, Miranda Serna.

Thursday: Kurt Budke's son Alex is playing in front of ‘family' at OSU.

Friday: Catching up with Roshunda Johnson, one of the players Budke and Serna were on the way to see when the plane crashed.

Saturday: The five words Shelley Budke has been living by since the crash.

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