It's A Slam Dunk: Budke For Coach of Year

There is still some doubt over whether the resurgent Oklahoma State Cowgirls will make the NCAA Tournament after Saturday night's 63-60 victory over 25th-ranked Nebraska, but there is no doubt how every coach in the conference and every media member should fill out their ballot when they come to the line for Coach of the Year. There's only one logical vote a -- Cowgirl head coach Kurt Budke.

With a win on Wednesday in Manhattan, Kan., the Cowgirls will finish 8-8 in the very difficult Big 12. They will be 20-9 overall with a two-game sweep of Texas, a 6-0 sweep of the Big 12 North schools, and road wins in places like Austin, Ames, Columbia, and Manhattan. All of that after finishing 0-17 against Big 12 competition the previous season, Budke's first in Stillwater.

Budke doesn't get all the credit because associate head coach Jim Littell and assistants Miranda Serna and Kenya Larkin have all patched up leaks and re-sewn the sails to get the Cowgirls boat back in the shark-infested Big 12 waters. But make no mistake that Budke in the captain. The crew has recruited strong, coached very hard, and credit the players for buying in to a winning formula so well that Budke claims the program is a year ahead of what he expected.

What is most refreshing is that the hard-core group of Cowgirl fans have bought the tickets to get on board have been treated to a team that is never out-hustled, plays very tough, and responds to the most modest of urging from their fans

Mr. Iba was probably a little skeptical of women's basketball, but I guarantee the seat that is left vacant for him at every home game in the arena that bears his name is filled with his spirit. Men or women, Mr. Iba can't pass up an opportunity to watch a team that plays like this.

Big 12 postseason voters better not mess this one up. Budke is a coach that would have no doubtedly had Mr. Iba's seal of approval.

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