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November 18, 2011

Former Senator Olin Branstetter and wife killed in plane crash with Oklahoma State coaches Budke, Serna

— STILLWATER, Okla. — Former State Senator Olin Branstetter and his wife, Paula, were the other two killed in plane crash that killed Oklahoma State University women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna, OSU officials said during a press conference.

The crash occured in Perry County, Ark., on a recruiting trip Thursday night. The university said the pair died in the crash Thursday night near Perryville, about 45 miles west of Little Rock. The Winona Wildlife Management Area is in steep terrain in the eastern Ouachita Mountains. A cause of the crash was not announced.

Oklahoma State canceled its women's college basketball home games set for Saturday and Sunday.

Jim Littell, who was named interim head coach, spoke about Budke during the Friday morning press conference.

"This was his dream situation," he said.

Littell said that while Budke was a great basketball coach, that is not what is important at this moment.

"What's important is he was a father figure to these kids," he said.

OSU officials said a memorial service is planned for Monday. Details will be released at a later time.

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