OSU women's soccer coach Karen Hancock has been there before. Her husband, Will, was killed in the 2001 plane crash in Colorado. She said her heart goes out to the grieving families from Thursday's tragedy.
STILLWATER, Oklahoma -
In Stillwater, the news is tragically familiar.
It was ten years ago when a plane carrying members of the men's basketball program crashed in a Colorado snowstorm.
Yesterday's news has opened old wounds for families of those killed in 2001.
We've heard it all day: "I can't believe it happened again."
And it just seems so unfair to this community, but we learned Friday that life and sports do go on from a woman who, unfortunately, lived through this before.
The members of the women's soccer team may have had their heads in Friday's game, but their hearts bled orange. They pinned orange hearts to their uniforms and played their hearts out in memory of Kurt Budke and Miranda Serna.
"My heart goes out to those families," Karen Hancock said. "I can empathize a great deal with them. It's just so very hard."
Hancock's husband Will was the basketball team's spokesman. He died in that snowy plane crash back in 2001.
"In sports, as in life, nothing's guaranteed. Ever."
Karen, now the assistant women's soccer coach, raised their baby girl alone.
"She just turned 11 a couple days ago."
Coach Hancock said news of another plane crash hit too close to home for their daughter.
"We had the TV on and she was getting ready for school. She said, 'You know, Mom, can I just turn the TV off?' And I said, 'Of course. Of course you can.'"
Coach Hancock was emotional on the sidelines, thinking of her good friend Coach Serna.
"She was nothing but positive. Would come by the office on nearly a weekly basis and just pop her head in and say, 'Hey, you guys are doing great.'
"Budke was the same way. Positive life force. Really good man," Hancock said.
Now she is trying to stay positive for her players.
"At our pre-game meal with our players, you could have heard a pin drop."
She's also sending "Orange Power" to the grieving families.
"Hang in there. It's hard. Real hard. Keep trying to do the best you can and put one foot in front of the other."
Hancock coached her women's team to a win today, giving the campus something to cheer about.
Hancock said it helped her to know Coaches Budke and Serna are now with her husband and the other "Remember the Ten" team.
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