NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Hall of Fame basketball coach Lou Henson has died at the age of 88. Henson, who was battling cancer, died at his home Saturday and was buried at a private ceremony in Champaign, Illinois Wednesday. Henson had an up and down battle with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. He was diagnosed with the illness in 2003.
Henson started his coaching career at Las Cruces high school in 1957. He would later take the reigns of head coach at the same school he played college basketball, New Mexico State in 1966. Henson took the Aggies to it’s only Final Four in 1970, losing in the tournament semifinal to UCLA. Henson left New Mexico State for the University of Illinois in 1975. He would spend 21 years leading the Illini.
During the 1988-89 season, Henson led the Illini to 31 wins and a Final Four appearance. Henson returned to New Mexico State in 1997 and led the Aggies until retiring in 2005. Henson walked away from coaching with 779 wins and 413 losses. He is the sixth winningest coach in Division 1 history. No one at New Mexico State or Illinois won more games than Henson during his 41-year career.