The Renegade Rip

BC coach uses loss to inspire

Gregory D. Cook

Gregory D. Cook

Bakersfield College assistant basketball coach, Aaron Chavez, honors his cousin who died in the Oklahoma State plane crash by wearing a badge during a home game on Jan. 25.

Esteban Ramirez, Sports Editor

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Miranda Serna inspired her cousin, Bakersfield College men’s basketball assistant coach Aaron Chavez, to pursue a coaching career. Last year Serna, the Oklahoma State University women’s assistant coach, died in an airplane crash, leaving Chavez shocked.

“I felt disbelief, heartache and I was just at a loss. Sure you can talk to your colleagues about how you feel, but anytime you lose someone that was close to you, it’s going to hurt,” said Chavez. “When I was at the service everyone stood up with respect toward her. We all knew she was gone, but we were in disbelief because it was hard to accept.”

Chavez also commented on how Serna inspired him to be a basketball coach.

“Growing up in a small town in New Mexico you don’t know growing up if you can accomplish your goals, but she was the reality to my dream. When you have someone in your family that has accomplished it you start to think, ‘Hey, I can do it too.’ ”

On Nov. 17, 2011, OSU’s basketball head coach Kurt Budke and Serna died in a plane crash while on a recruiting trip. Serna was entering her seventh season as the assistant head coach for OSU and eighth as assistant coach for Budke including a short stint at Louisiana Tech University. She also coached at Long Beach State University, Chicago State University and Fresno State University. During her time at Fresno, the Bulldogs posted a 20-win season in the 2002-03 season. She was part of two state championships while playing at Eldorado High School in Albuquerque, N.M. She also won two national championships at Trinity Valley Junior College and one as a coach.

Chavez is entering his seventh year on the BC coaching staff. He also coached at Bard College in New York and at West Las Vegas High School.

“She was a very giving and extremely humble person. She grew up in a small town … always stayed humble and never forgot her roots. Often times you hear people giving their shirt off their back, well, she would’ve given her wardrobe.

“She was on the highest level of college women’s basketball and yet she never bragged about it because she never wanted to make anyone feel inferior. We all knew she could be a head coach on a college team, but she was so humble that when she talked about it, she talked about being the head coach for Mora High School,” he said.

Chavez wasn’t the only person at BC that Serna has left a positive mark on. Serna has also had an impact on Mike Young, a freshman guard on the Renegades men’s basketball team.

Young is from Oklahoma and his sister played for Serna, so he had a close bond with Serna.

“I was hurt and I just didn’t think it was real when I found out. She was a great woman and I won’t forget everything she did for me and my family,” said Young.

“She would do anything for anyone in or off the court and she always put everyone before herself. This has made me push harder and be thankful for everything she did.”

Young added that he and Chavez are much closer now after experiencing the loss of someone that they were both so close to.

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BC coach uses loss to inspire