Illinois recently announced their non-conference schedule and on December 16th they will host New Mexico State in Chicago at the United Center. The game, which on paper might not seem out of the ordinary, will be pretty memorable for both programs as it will honor former coach Lou Henson.
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, the former coaching icon is the all-time winningest coach for both Illinois and New Mexico State basketball.
In his 21 seasons with the Illini, Henson went 423-224 and led the program to 12 NCAA Tournaments, 11 seasons of 20 wins or more and one Final Four appearance in 1989. Henson coached at New Mexico State prior to Illinois, as well as returning to coach the Aggies in 1997, winning 289 games over 16 years. His New Mexico State team in 1970 is the only Aggies squad to reach the Final Four.
Throughout his career Henson ended up with 779 wins (16th all-time) and is one of four coaches to win 200 or more wins at two D1 programs. He’s already seen plenty of accolades because of his career, being inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as having his name on the home courts for both programs.