Born: June 3, 1961 – Salina, KS
Died: November 17, 2011
Graduated: Salina Sacred Heart High School, 1979; Barton County Community College, 1981; Washburn University, 1983; Wichita State University (M.S.), 1985
Kurt Budke of Salina was one of the most successful collegiate women's basketball coaches of all-time. A four-time national junior college champion and a two-time national junior college Coach of the Year, Budke transformed every program he coached including Allen County (KS) Community College, Trinity Valley (TX) Community College, Louisana Tech University, and Oklahoma State University.
Playing Career and Early Coaching Career
Budke grew up with the game of basketball and success seemed to follow him everywhere he stepped on the hardwood. In high school, Budke was named the MVP of the 1979 3A state tournament as he led the Salina Sacred Heart Knights to the state title. He continued that success at Barton County Community College, where he earned All-Conference honors in 1981, and Washburn University, where he graduated in 1984.
Budke was an outstanding player, but like so many great coaches, his true greatness came out while on the sidelines. He began his coaching career at Allen County Community College in Iola, Kansas, in 1991 where he posted a record of 47-15 in two seasons prior to moving on to Trinity Valley (TX) Community College.
A Champion's Calling
At Trinity, Budke transformed from a great coach to a living legend, leading the Lady Cardinals to six consecutive national championship game appearances in seven seasons. During his tenure at Trinity, Budke’s teams won an amazing ninety-three percent of their games, including four national championships.
Fresh off his success at the junior college level, Budke made the jump to the Division I level, ending up at Oklahoma State University after a stint as an assistant and head coach at Louisiana Tech. The Cowgirls, mired in Big XII mediocrity, needed a savior and Budke was the man for the job.
A rough first season in Stillwater did not deter Budke and by his second season in Stillwater, the Cowgirls were in the NCAA tournament. Budke made March basketball a regular occurrence for OSU fans as his teams made postseason play each season from 2007-2011.
Budke was inducted to the NJCAA Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.