Lou Henson is confirmed dead at the age of 88.
Lou was best known as a American Hall of Fame college basketball coach (Hardin-Simmons).
Lou Henson
Biographical details
Born (1932-01-10) January 10, 1932 (age 88)
Okay, Oklahoma
DiedJuly 25, 2020
Playing career
1951–1953Connors JC
1953–1955New Mexico A&M
Position(s)Guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1956–1958Las Cruces HS (JV)
1958–1962Las Cruces HS
1962–1966Hardin–Simmons
1966–1975New Mexico State
1975–1996Illinois
1997–2005New Mexico State
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
1967–1975New Mexico State
Head coaching record
Overall779–422
Tournaments19–20 (NCAA)
5–4 (NIT)
Accomplishments and honors
Championships
NCAA Regional – Final Four (1970, 1989)
Big Ten Conference regular season (1984)
Big West Conference regular season (1999)
Big West Tournament (1999)
Awards
Big Ten Coach of the Year (1993)
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2015
Louis Ray Henson (January 10, 1932 - July 25, 2020) was a college basketball coach. He retired as the all-time leader in victories at the University of Illinois with 423 victories and New Mexico State with 289 victories. Overall Henson won 779 games, putting him in sixteenth place on the all-time list. Henson was also one of only four NCAA coaches to have amassed at least 200 total wins at two institutions. On February 17, 2015, Henson was selected as a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. In August 2015, prior to the reopening of the newly renovated State Farm Center at the University of Illinois, the hardwood floor was dedicated and renamed Lou Henson Court in his honor. The court at the Pan American Center at New Mexico State University is also named in his honor.
Contents
1 Early life and education
2 Career
3 Health problems
4 Head coaching record
5 See also
6 References
7 External links
Early life and education
Born in Okay, Oklahoma, Henson graduated from Okay High School in 1951 and matriculated at Connors Junior College before transferring to New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts (New Mexico A&M, now New Mexico State University). He lettered in basketball for the New Mexico A&M Aggies from 1953 to 1955 and graduated with a bachelor's degree in 1955 and master's degree in 1956.
Career
Henson began his coaching career at Las Cruces High School in Las Cruces, New Mexico in 1956. After two years as junior varsity coach, Henson was head coach of the varsity team from 1958 to 1962 and won state championships in 1959, 1960, and 1961.
He started coaching in the college ranks in 1962 at Hardin-Simmons University. As a condition of taking the Hardin-Simmons job, Henson insisted that the team (and thus the school) be racially integrated, a condition to which the university agreed. In 1966, he took over at his alma mater, New Mexico State University. In his first season at NMSU, the Aggies rebounded from a 4–22 record in the prior season to finish 15–11 and went to the NCAA Tournament. In 1970, Henson would help lead the Aggies to the Final Four for the only time in the school's history. Henson and future NBA players Jimmy Collins, Sam Lacey, and Charlie Criss lost in the tournament semifinal to eventual champion UCLA, the third time in three years the Aggies lost to UCLA in the tournament. Henson coached at New Mexico State for nine seasons, with six trips to the NCAA Tournament and four twenty-win seasons.
In 1975, Henson moved to the University of Illinois to replace Gene Bartow, after Bartow left Illinois to replace John Wooden at UCLA. In 21 years at Illinois, Henson garnered 423 wins and 224 losses (.654 winning percentage), and with a record of 214 wins and 164 losses (.567) in Big Ten Conference games. The 214 wins in Big Ten games were the third highest total ever at the time of his retirement. His best Fighting Illini team was the 1988-89 unit, which won a then-school record 31 games and went to the Final Four. At Illinois, Henson coached many future NBA players, including Eddie Johnson, Derek Harper, Ken Norman, Nick Anderson, Kendall Gill, Kenny Battle, Marcus Liberty, Steve Bardo, and Kiwane Garris, and was known for his trademark Lou-Do.
In 1997, Henson returned to New Mexico State as interim head coach after Neil McCarthy was abruptly fired before the start of the season. Henson wanted to donate his time, but was told that state law didn't allow him to coach for free. He finally accepted a nominal salary of $1 per month. After a successful season, he was given his old job back on a permanent basis. His 1998–99 team won the Big West regular season and tournament titles—notably, the first time in Henson's career that he had won a conference tournament. He retired for good midway through the 2004–05 season due to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. His second stint allowed him to regain his standing as New Mexico State's all-time winningest coach, passing McCarthy.
Health problems
In July 2007, Henson announced that he was again undergoing chemotherapy for the same strain of lymphoma that he had battled four years previously. He was undergoing treatment in Champaign, Illinois, where he lives in the summer. In July 2015, Henson once again entered chemotherapy for "bone marrow problems."
Henson "returned to coaching" at age 82 as coach of the New Mexico House of Representatives team in a charity contest versus the New Mexico State Senate team on February 7, 2014. Lou Henson was laid to rest in Champaign, Illinois on July 29, 2020 in the Roselawn Cemetery. Close to the Dick Butkus statue
Head coaching record
Statistics overview
Season
Team
Overall
Conference
Standing
Postseason
Hardin–Simmons Cowboys (NCAA University Division independent) (1962–1966)
1962–63
Hardin–Simmons
10–16
1963–64
Hardin–Simmons
20–6
1964–65
Hardin–Simmons
17–8
1965–66
Hardin–Simmons
20–6
Hardin-Simmons:
67–36
New Mexico State Aggies (NCAA University Division independent) (1966–1970)
1966–67
New Mexico State
15–11
1967–68
New Mexico State
23–6
NCAA University Division Regional Semifinal
1968–69
New Mexico State
24–5
NCAA University Division Regional Quarterfinal
1969–70
New Mexico State
27–3
NCAA University Division Final Four
New Mexico State Aggies (Missouri Valley Conference) (1970–1975)
1970–71
New Mexico State
19–8
0–0‡
NCAA University Division Regional Quarterfinal
1971–72
New Mexico State
19–6
0–0‡
1972–73
New Mexico State
12–14
6–7
T–4th
1973–74
New Mexico State
14–11
7–6
T–3rd
1974–75
New Mexico State
20–7
11–3
2nd
NCAA Division I Round of 32
New Mexico State:
173–71
24–16
Illinois Fighting Illini (Big Ten Conference) (1975–1996)
1975–76
Illinois
14–13
7–11
T–7th
1976–77
Illinois
16–14
8–10
6th
1977–78
Illinois
13–14
7–11
7th
1978–79
Illinois
19–11
7–11
7th
1979–80
Illinois
22–13
8–10
T–6th
NIT Third Place
1980–81
Illinois
21–8
12–6
3rd
NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1981–82
Illinois
18–11
10–8
6th
NIT Second Round
1982–83
Illinois
21–11
11–7
T–2nd
NCAA Division I Round of 48
1983–84
Illinois
26–5
15–3
T–1st
NCAA Division I Elite Eight
1984–85
Illinois
26–9
12–6
2nd
NCAA Division I Sweet 16
1985–86
Illinois
22–10
11–7
T–4th
NCAA Division I Round of 32
1986–87
Illinois
23–8
13–5
4th
NCAA Division I Round of 64
1987–88
Illinois
23–10
12–6
T–3rd
NCAA Division I Round of 32
1988–89
Illinois
31–5
14–4
2nd
NCAA Division I Final Four
1989–90
Illinois
21–8
11–7
T–4th
NCAA Division I Round of 64
1990–91
Illinois
21–10
11–7
T–3rd
1991–92
Illinois
13–15
7–11
8th
1992–93
Illinois
19–13
11–7
T–3rd
NCAA Division I Round of 32
1993–94
Illinois
17–11
10–8
T–4th
NCAA Division I Round of 64
1994–95
Illinois
19–12
10–8
T–5th
NCAA Division I Round of 64
1995–96
Illinois
18–13
7–11
9th
NIT First Round
Illinois:
423–224
214–164
New Mexico State Aggies (Big West Conference) (1997–2000)
1997–98
New Mexico State
18–12
8–8*
T–7th
1998–99
New Mexico State
23–10
12–4
1st
NCAA Round of 64
1999–00
New Mexico State
22–10
11–5
7th
NIT First Round
New Mexico State Aggies (Sun Belt Conference) (2000–2005)
2000–01
New Mexico State
14–14
10–6
T–2nd (West)
2001–02
New Mexico State
20–12
11–4
T–1st (West)
2002–03
New Mexico State
20–9
9–6
2nd(West)
2003–04
New Mexico State
13–14
6–9
T–4th (West)
2004–05
New Mexico State
5–13†
1–4†
†(West)
New Mexico State:
135–86
66–46
Total:
779–412
      National champion  
      Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion  
      Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion
      Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion
‡ New Mexico State ineligible for conference championship
* Record vacated due to NCAA infractions
† Henson resigned on January 22, 2005 and was replaced that day by interim head coach Tony Stubblefield; their collective record in the 2004–05 season was 6–24 (1–14 Sun Belt) for a sixth-place finish in the Sun Belt West division.
See also
List of college men's basketball coaches with 600 wins
List of NCAA Division I Men's Final Four appearances by coach
Lou Henson Award
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