Lou Henson

Lou Henson

College Coach
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Lou Henson

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Lou Henson (born January 10, 1932 in Okay, Oklahoma, U.S.) is a former collegiate basketball coach. He retired as the all time leader in victories at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with 423 victories and New Mexico State with 289 victories. Overall he had 779 victories, putting him in sixth place on the all-time list.

Henson began his coaching career at Las Cruces High School in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Henson was head coach of the varsity for four seasons, and won state championships in 1959, 1960, and 1961.

He started coaching at the college ranks in 1962 at Hardin-Simmons University. 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. He would lead the Fighting Illini to the 1989 Final Four. Henson retired in 1996, after 21 seasons at...
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