Former Fresno State Assistant coach Miranda Serna was killed in a plane crash Thursday night.
Serna worked at Fresno State from 2002 to 2004, but had recently been an assistant basketball coach at Oklahoma State. She was on a recruiting trip when her single engine plane went down near Little Rock, Arkansas. She and three others were killed including Oklahoma State’s Head women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke, Former Oklahoma State Senator Olin Branstetter and his wife Paula.
Fresno State coaches are stunned by the unexpected deaths. They say it’s hard to believe both coaches are gone. Fresno State’s Head Women's basketball coach Adrian Wiggins knew both Budke and Serna; both were assistant women’s basketball coaches at Fresno State in 2002.
Wiggins says she had a big heart for the bulldogs. Miranda Serna sat on the Fresno State side lines for two years. She was a dedicated assistant coach that helped lead the dogs to a National Tournament with a 20-win season.
During her career, Serna became an award winning coach with an eye for talent. “She was one of the best recruiters out of the Big 10,” says Wiggins.
Serna was flying out on a recruiting trip Thursday night; her plane never made it. “I'm still in shock; it’s so sad. I feel really bad for their families,” says Wiggins.
Numb to the devastating news, Serna’s friends say it’s hard to describe the loss. “Right now, it doesn't seem real; you just hope it’s not. It’s tough,” says Wiggins. He knew Serna well; they we’re friends from the beginning of their careers. “She was one of the first coaches I got to know.” It was just two days ago they were talking—discussing recruits over the phone. “She was helping me out with a Pepperdine scout so it’s kind of tough.”
Wiggins says Serna was a “huge part of why our programs are successful today” and add’s “she’s a tireless worker and a wonderful person”.
No longer on the sidelines, friends say she lived her dream playing and coaching. “I knew Miranda really well, my heart goes out to her family; it's a very tragic situation,” says Fresno State Head Football Coach Pat Hill. “She was a friend and we'll have a hard time with this; we'll miss her,” says Wiggins.
Serna died Thursday night; she was 36-years-old.
Christina Lusby Reporting.