Legendary New Mexico State University basketball coach Lou Henson is in a Houston hospital after spending a week at the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana, Ill.
Henson, who is scheduled to be inducted into the National Collegiate Hall of Fame in November, is the winningest coach in NMSU and University of Illinois history. Henson, 83, and his wife, Mary, have homes in both Illinois and southern New Mexico. In the past he has battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Champaign, Ill.-based News-Gazette.com reports Henson traveled to Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center on Sunday, June 21, for tests because his immune system has been compromised, but doctors are not sure why.
Test results are not expected for a couple of days.
Henson had a 41-year career as a collegiate head coach, all at the NCAA Division I level, posting a record of 779-412 with a 65.4 winning percentage.
He started his career at Hardin-Simmons.
Henson, a 1955 graduate of NMSU, coached 16 years in two stints for his alma mater, posting a 289-152 record. He also tallied a 423-224 mark in 21 years at Illinois and amassed a 67-36 record in four seasons at HSU.
He is currently 11th all-time in career Division I victories, and was sixth on that list when he fully retired from the floor in January of 2005.
Henson is one of just 12 coaches to take two different schools to the Final Four. During his Aggie career, Henson’s teams made NM State’s only Final Four appearance (1970), 19 NCAA appearances, four NIT appearances, won two conference championships and produced five all-Americans.
His greatest season at New Mexico State was the 1969-70 season that saw the Aggies post a 27-3 campaign, falling in the national semifinal to eventual champion UCLA 95-77. However, the Aggies came back to take the NCAA Third Place game, beating St. Bonaventure 79-73.
He also led Illinois to the 1989 Final Four, directing the Illini to a 31-5 record before falling to Big 10 foe and eventual national champion Michigan 83-81 in the national semifinal.