Legendary Illinois basketball coach Lou Henson passes away at 88
Legendary Illinois head basketball coach Lou Henson died on Saturday at the age of 88, the News-Gazette is reporting. He was buried on Thursday morning.
According to the report from the News-Gazette, it was the family’s wish to keep Henson’s passing private due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Henson was the longtime head coach at Illinois, leading the Fighting Illini from 1975-96. In over 20 seasons in Champaign, Henson racked up a career record of 423-244, which included a 216-164 mark against B1G opponents. He led the program to 15 postseason appearances, which included 12 visits to the NCAA Tournament.
Illinois’ best run under Henson came during the 1988-89 season, when the Fighting Illini finished the year with a 31-5 record and appeared in the Final Four. He also led the Illini to one B1G regular season title (1983-84) and was named the B1G Coach of the Year after the 1992-93 season.
Henson’s time at Illinois was sandwiched between stints at New Mexico State. He landed his first major college basketball coaching job with the Aggies, coaching the program from 1966-75 before departing for Champaign. After two decades at Illinois, Henson returned to New Mexico State where he led the team from 1997-2005.
In four decades as a head coach, Henson compiled an overall record of 779-412 and had 18 appearances in the NIT and NCAA Tournament.