By NewsPress Staff
STILLWATER, Okla. —
It’s been over a year since Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke was killed in a plane crash in Arkansas.
Now the former Cowgirl coach will forever be enshrined as a member of the Barton Community College Hall of Fame, following Saturday’s induction ceremony at the Kirkman Activity Center in Great Bend, Kan.
“He was one of the guys in the business at the Division I level that had it right. He had God, family, and his job in that order,” Jerry Mullen, Budke’s former coach, said. “I always had tremendous respect for Kurt. A tremendous coach and human being. I’m just so honored to have been a part of his life as it was way too short but he gave me a tremendous amount of pride in what he accomplished and what he was.”
During his time at Barton, Budke all-conference honors in 1981 as a member of the Barton men’s basketball team. Remembered as a winning coach with the battle-cry “win the next five minutes”, Budke guided each of his teams to high achievements earning him the utmost respect and honor by his colleagues and others.
“I’m very honored and humbled to present Kurt to you today,” Mullen said. “Unbelievable coach, but more than that, an unbelievable man. A tremendous family man.”
Budke’s junior college coaching achievements include a 273-31 for a NJCAA record winning percentage at .898. Named the NJCAA National Coach of the Year in both 1995 and 1998, Budke was also named the Jayhawk East Conference coach of the year, and the Texas Coaches Association Coach of the Year four times.
At the Division I level his success continued. Beginning at Louisiana Tech University, Budke led the Lady Techsters to an 80-16 record in his three seasons including a 29-game win streak, three-straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Louisiana Tech also won two Western Athletic Conference titles and Budke was named the WAC Coach of the Year.
Leaving Louisiana Tech for Oklahoma State University in 2005, Budke transformed the OSU program to contend for the Big 12 conference title and reach the NCAA Sweet 16 in just his third year. In six seasons at OSU, Budke’s teams made five post-season appearances compiling a 112-83 record including 1-0 to begin the 2011 season prior to his death in 2011.
Honored posthumously, Budke’s wife Shelley Budke accepted his induction into the hall of fame. Joining Shelley Budke in attendance were daughter Sara, Budke’s parents John and Margie Budke along with longtime family friends Mark and Kathy Chaput of Salina, Kan.
“Kurt (Budke) was an outstanding collegiate player and made a big impact at Barton County,” Oklahoma State women's basketball coach Jim Littell said. “He was well renowned in Kansas for his basketball abilities as well as his coaching abilities. I’m very happy for Shelley and their family that he was inducted into the Barton County hall of fame. It’s a very worthy award and I’m very happy for their family.”