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Unspeakable Sports Tragedies

Oklahoma State University women's basketball Head Coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna at Gallagher-Iba Arena November 19, 2011 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

Sometimes we forget that sports are only for entertainment purposes.  It seems that there are times when people place more of an emphasis on their favorite teams then what really matters in life.  What should matter the most are people’s lives. 

There have been numerous tragedies involving athletes and coaches throughout history.  Most recently the Oklahoma State Cowgirls lost their head coach Kurt Budke and assistant coach Miranda Serna in a plane crash in Arkanasas last Thursday night while returning to Stillwater from a recruiting trip. 

Sadly, this was the second time in the past decade that the Oklahoma State basketball program has endured the loss of coaches and atheltes in a plane crash.  Oklahoma State is not alone when it comes to enduring the loss of athletes and coaches. 

Here is a list of some of the worst tradegies in sports history.  This is my dedication to the athletes, coaches, and victims who have died playing and being affiliated with the sports that they loved the most.  May they all rest in peace.

November 14, 1970,  the Marshall University Thundering Herd football team was returning home to Huntington, West Virginia from a game at East Carolina.  Their plane crashed in Ceredo, West Virginia  just before they reached the Tri State Airport. The plane was carrying 75 members of the Marshall football family, including 37 players, the head coach and four assistant , and 25 boosters.

September 5, 1972, during the Munich Olympics, 11 Israeli athletes were killed by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.  German security allowed the 8 Palestinians, with bags of weapons, to scale the fence that surrounded the Olympic village.

October 13, 1972, a  Uruguayan rugby team club lost 29 team members in a plane crash in the Andes mountains . Survivors hung on for several weeks until they were rescued, forced to cannibalism to stay alive. Their story was later portrayed in the movie, Alive.  

December 31, 1972, Roberto Clemente died in a plane crash while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.  Clemente was one of the greatest baseball players of all time.  He had just achieved baseball immortality by getting his 3,000th hit before his life was tragically cut short at the age of 38.

January 27, 2001, a plane carrying Oklahoma State staff and players crashed in a snow storm near Byers, Colorado, killing all 10 on board. The plane was on its way back from a loss against the University of Colorado. Those killed included Nate Fleming, a redshirt freshman guard, Dan Lawson, a junior guard, and Bill Teegins, radio sportscaster for OSU basketball.

February 18, 2001, Dale Earnhardt died when he crashed during the final lap of the Daytona 500.  Earnhardt had a remarkable career as a Nascar driver, winning 76 races, including the Daytona 500 in 1998. 

September 7, 2011, a plane crash in western Russia killed nearly the entire roster of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, a team in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.

October 16, 2011, Dan Wheldon died from his injuries shortly after a collision at the IZOD IndyCar World Championship at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.  Wheldon’s stellar career included 16 victories highlighted by 2 Indianapolis 500 championships.

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