Kurt Budke left a lasting impression at several stops during his coaching career. Saturday night he received one of the most prestigious honors a coach can get – induction into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.
Budke was inducted Saturday night during the 2015 induction ceremonies in Knoxville, Tenn. He was one of six inducted.
In addition to Budke, 4-time Olympian Janeth Arcain, longtime Duke head coach Gail Goestenkors, Georgia player Janet Harris, Olympic gold medalist Lisa Leslie, and longtime Oregon high school coach Brad Smith were inducted.
Budke’s induction was posthumous after dying in a plane accident in 2011. He was the head coach at Oklahoma State University at the time.
Budke, a native of Salina, played basketball for Barton Community College for two seasons earning All-Conference honors during the 1981 season. He continued his basketball playing days at Washburn University where he graduated in 1984. He spent his last season as a graduate assistant for the Ichabods.
He was inducted into the Barton Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. He was the youngest coach ever inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame when he entered in 2003. His .898 winning percentage is the highest all-time at the NJCAA level.
Budke orchestrated a most impressive turnaround at Oklahoma State.
He took over a team that had won a combined 23 games in three seasons and struggled his first season with the Cowgirls – going 6-22 overall and 0-16 in the Big 12 during the 2005-06 season.
But it didn’t take long to get things going. In year two Oklahoma State was in the NCAA tournament. His team improved by 14 wins, going 20-11 and followed the next year by reaching the Sweet Sixteen.
Those were the first appearances in the NCAA tournament for OSU in 10 years. The Sweet Sixteen trip was the first in close to 20 years.
Budke directed Oklahoma State to five straight post season appearances – three NCAA tournaments – before being killed just one game into the 2011-12 season on a recruiting trip. His career record at OSU was 112-83.
Budke made a name for himself while at Trinity Valley Community College in Texas. He started his coaching career at Allen County, going 47-15 over two seasons before taking the job at Trinity Valley in 1993.
He coached the Cardinals for seven season winning four NJCAA titles and making the finals two more times. His teams went a combined 226-16 during those seven seasons.
From there he went to Louisiana Tech for three seasons going 80-16 making the NCAA tournament all three years with two Sweet Sixteen appearances before heading to Oklahoma State.
His career coaching record was 468-157.
Budke is now a member of five Halls of Fame. In addition to the Women’s Basketball, Barton Sports and NJCAA Halls he is also a member of the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame and the Trinity Valley Sports Hall of Fame.
The floor at the Bicentennial Center in Salina is named for him as well. He led Sacred Heart High School to the 3A state title 1979 being named the MVP of the tournament.