This has been a rough week and I really didn't feel like blogging about it, but what better way to honor someone who I worked closely with for 5 years. I lost my former boss and coworker to a tragic plane crash last Thursday evening. Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna were aboard a private plane that went down while traveling to go recruiting. It spiraled out of control and crashed into the hills of Arkansas on a cloudless day. There wasn't a distress call so it's hard to say what happened and it pains me to think about those last moments and what went through their minds. We may not ever know, but hopefully they will shed some light on it 9-12 months from now when they will learn more about why it crashed.
Kurt and I worked under Coach Barmore at La tech for 2 years and then when Kurt got the head job, he promoted me to recruiting coordinator for 3 years. When you are coaching any sport on the college level, you become closer to your coworkers than most anyone in your life, including your family. You spend countless hours together in the office and then there are the numerous trips for games and recruiting. You learn a lot about each other (more than you care too) especially when things don't go as planned (losing games, delayed flights, long 18 hour WAC travel days or losing recruits because of the weather that weekend on their visit...yes, all the above really happened!!!)
Kurt and I immediately hit it off as soon as we met. And who wouldn't!? His personality was warm, friendly, and inviting. We may have had some rough days while he was the head coach but probably more so because we were so close. But who doesn't, right? At least it never affected our friendship. We remained close, even after his departure to Oklahoma State. I loved seeing him on the road recruiting and at the final four. He always took the time to call or hang out with me.
I know this entire post is mostly about Kurt, but I can't forget Miranda. Her poor mom. She was very close to her mom and nephew and I can't imagine what they are going through. Miranda and I only worked together for a year, but she was very pleasant to be around. She had the biggest heart. I have never seen anyone work as hard as she did and oh how she loved her players. I only wish we had more time together.
My favorite memories of Kurt:
1. watching him scare anyone that entered the office with his plastic snakes
2. video taping him while I hid a real python snake (small) in his filing cabinet. Someone had to get him back and boy did I! He wanted to have me arrested for attempted murder!! lol Wow, i really wish i could find that video....
3. staking signs into his yard on his 40th birthday and all the pranks I pulled on him that day
4. team dinners at his house with his wife and kids. He taught me the importance of family and that they always come first
5. playing the fishing slot machines with his parents on all the Reno visits. His parents were his biggest supporters and came to most games even though they lived in Kansas
6. listening to all his stories over a few beers on the recruiting trails
7. His prayers before each game
8. His weird thing with his newspapers....no one can look at his papers until after he has and he always kept them. His favorite paper was the Dallas Morning news
9. the big kahuna burger joint in hawaii that he would always treat his staff to every year.
10. his christmas gifts
They will be missed and may they never be forgotten
Father, God, may you wrap your arms around Shelley, Sara, Alex and Brett. And his sweet parents....how I pray that I will never have to bury a child. Please comfort them and look for positive memories to carry them through each day. I pray that they know it's ok to cry, laugh and get angry, but that they never turn their back on you. Give them comfort by knowing they will again see Kurt face to face and meet you when you call us all home. And I pray that his team and staff will honor him each day with their efforts on the court and throughout the season. In his glorious name I pray, Amen.