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OSU plane crash: 'How many more tragedies can they endure?'

OSU PLANE CRASH — Oklahoma State, the school that vowed never to forget when it lost 10 members of the OSU family in a plane crash, now has even more to remember.
BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, jrohde@opubco.com Published: November 18, 2011
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On Jan. 27, 2001, when a plane carrying 10 members of the Oklahoma State men's basketball travel party crashed in a frozen field near Strasburg, Colo., weeping fans of the Cowboys swore they would never forget their fallen 10.

"We Will Remember" became the resounding refrain from those in orange and black, who indeed never have forgotten.

Sadly, now there are more to remember.

OSU women's basketball coach Kurt Budke assistant coach Miranda Serna and two others died Thursday in a single-engine airplane crash about 45 miles west of Little Rock near Perryville, Ark. Also killed were the pilot, former Oklahoma state Sen. Olin Branstetter and his wife, Paula.

Lost a decade ago were OSU basketball players Nate Fleming and Daniel Lawson; publicist Will Hancock; basketball operations director Pat Noyes; trainer Brian Luinstra; manager Jared Weiberg; radio engineer Kendall Durfey; broadcaster Bill Teegins; and pilots Denver Mills and Bjorn Fahlstrom.

Death supposedly comes in threes. For OSU, tragedies come in 10s.

Thursday's crash came 10 years and 10 months from a previous crash that claimed 10 lives.

The last two plane crashes to kill members of an American college sports team have victimized the exact same school (see list).

OSU owns the most unthinkable, unimaginable, unfathomable back-to-back ever recorded in sports.

"How many more tragedies can they endure?" Baylor women's coach Kim Mulkey asked.

Zero would be nice.

On Friday morning, dazed OSU president Burns Hargis tried to explain the inexplicable.

"Well, this is obviously an incredibly devastating event," Hargis said, shutting his eyes to fight back tears. "It's our worst nightmare."

Again.

"When something like this happens, and God fobid it happened again, we have to pull together," Hargis said.

Eddie Sutton was the Cowboys' coach of the 10 to remember and spoke of the Cowgirls coach who was lost Thursday.

"Kurt Budke was a wonderful coach," Sutton said. "This is just another catastrophe. … This is a reminder. Not a day goes by that I don't think of it, and this brings it all back."

For anyone somehow able to climb back in the saddle after the first tragedy, this second go-round no doubt knocked them back in the dirt.

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College sports plane crashes

Nov. 17, 2011: Oklahoma State women's basketball coach Kurt Budke, assistant coach Miranda Serna and two others, in forest 45 miles west of Little Rock, Ark.

Jan. 27, 2001: Oklahoma State basketball players Dan Lawson and Nate Fleming, six team staffers and broadcasters and two pilots, near Strasburg, Colo.

April 18, 1996: Nebraska quarterback Brook Berringer, two days before NFL Draft, in Raymond, Neb.

Nov. 25, 1985: Iowa State women's cross country coach Ron Renko, assistant coach Pat Moynihan, and team members Julie Rose, Susan Baxter and Sheryl Maahs, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Jan. 10, 1980: LSU football coach Bo Rein and pilot, on return trip from Shreveport, La.

Dec. 13, 1977: University of Evansville men's basketball coach Bobby Watson and 14 players, in Evansville, Ind.

Nov. 14, 1970: Marshall University football team, 36 players, in Huntington, W.Va.

Oct. 2, 1970: Wichita State football team, 14 players, near Silver Plume, Colo.

April 28, 1968: Lamar Tech track team, five members and the coach, in Beaumont, Texas.

Oct. 10, 1960: Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo football team, 16 members, in Toledo, Ohio.

July 1, 1954: Alabama halfback John McBride killed in ROTC training flight in Texas.

June 2, 1943: Iowa halfback Nile Kinnick, 1939 Heisman Trophy winner, in Gulf of Paria.

March 31, 1931: Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne, near Bazaar, Kan.

Sources: NBC Sports and CBS News

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