Trinity Valley mourns loss of former coaches - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Trinity Valley mourns loss of former coaches

ATHENS, TX (KLTV) -  When Kurt Budke arrived in Athens, Trinity Valley women's basketball, changed forever.

"Our expectations were that we wanted to go further," said former TVCC president Ron Baugh.  "He assured me that he could, and that he would do it in a way that would made me very happy."

In year one, Budke came through on his promise.

"First national tournament that he won, was in Tyler Texas," said Baugh.  "I went down there, he looked me in the eye and said 'told you we would do it,' and he did."

Former athletic director and fellow TVCC coaching legend Leon Spencer hired Budke in 1993.

"As athletic director, you are always proud when someone you make a decision on to hire is successful," said Spencer.  "It gives you a sense of pride."

In seven years, Budke built Trinity Valley into a powerhouse. Six times they played for a national title, winning four.

"We thought he would be good, we had no idea he would be that successful," said Spencer.

Kenya Landers is now the co-head coach at TVCC, the same place she won a title under Budke, in 1999

"The impact that he had on Lady Cardinal basketball is something that will never be forgotten," said Landers.

Miranda Serna won a title as a player and as an assistant with Budke at Trinity Valley.  Serna had been an assistant coach at Oklahoma State under Budke for seven years. News of their death, sent shockwave's through Trinity Valley.

"The first thing I wanted to do was cry," said Baugh.  "The first thing I thought was this is not fair, because those girls who went to school here and played for him, I know for a fact everyone of them felt as though it was a home."

"The fans that know him, or knew him here, they are going to be hurting," said Spencer.  "Hurt and saddened just as much as any of the college family."

Landers says Budke had told her how much he loved his time in Athens.

"He loved it here," Landers said.  "He loved this place, he loved being the best, and you know he was the one who put our program on the map."

Coach Budke was so successful here at Trinity Valley, that he is the youngest coach ever inducted into the National Junior College Basketball Hall of Fame.  Budke was NJCAA National Coach of the Year twice with TVCC, in 1995 and 1998.

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