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Originally published November 18, 2011 at 6:01 PM | Page modified November 18, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Washington coach Kevin McGuff remembers Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke

Oklahoma State women's basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna will killed in a plane crash Thursday. Washington coach Kevin McGuff, who had known Budke since 2009, was stunned by the news.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Concentration was difficult for Washington women's basketball coach Kevin McGuff on Friday. McGuff woke to news of the deaths of Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna in a plane crash.

McGuff's phone was full of text messages from people stunned at the news. He considered Budke, 50, a close friend.

"I had a harder time that normal putting the practice plan together," said McGuff's whose team hosts Cal State Northridge at 2 p.m. Saturday at Edmundson Pavilion. "It's not that you move on from that situation, but you try to compartmentalize it for a while. Put it off to the side and focus on what we have to do to prepare our team. It's not easy."

Oklahoma State canceled its games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. McGuff wants his team to wear orange ribbons in honor of Budke and Serna. The idea came from other teams and fans on social media outlets.

McGuff said he met Budke at the 2009 NCAA Women's Final Four in St. Louis, sitting at the same table for a sponsor's dinner. They formed a quick bond talking about their children and careers.

Budke is survived by his wife and their three children. McGuff is married with five kids, the youngest born in July.

"We always talked about the balance of what it was like to be in this profession with a family and how that's a hard balance," McGuff said of chats with Budke. "It's unbelievably sad in so many ways and it's a huge loss for Oklahoma State and Kurt and Miranda's families, the players and everybody involved. I couldn't believe it when I saw that."

The news also sparked a memory McGuff doesn't speak about much these days. As an assistant coach at Notre Dame in 2001, he persuaded coach Muffet McGraw to take a later flight out of Providence, R.I., instead of Boston after a recruiting trip. The flight from Boston, United 175, was part of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

McGuff, McGraw and men's coach Mike Brey eventually rented a car and drove 15 hours back to South Bend, Ind., in silence while listening to news of the attacks on the radio.

"We've all got such busy lives," McGuff said Friday. "You're coaching and traveling with your team and traveling with recruiting. You try to spend time with your family and then something like this happens. It makes you take a pause and remember what's important in life."

Note

• Seattle University will host San Diego at 12:15 p.m. Saturday as part of a doubleheader with the men's team at KeyArena. The Redhawks (1-2) lost to UW in their last outing Wednesday while the Toreros (1-1) lost at Eastern Washington 68-57 on Thursday.

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com. On Twitter @JaydaEvans.

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