New Mexico State coach vows not to let cancer slow him down

Updated: August 18, 2003, 8:42 PM ET

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- New Mexico State basketball coach Lou Henson won't let cancer slow him down.

In his first news conference since being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma last month, Henson said Monday he's looking forward to the basketball season.

"I feel good, I feel energetic," said Henson, 71. "I worked Friday, I played nine holes of golf on Friday and 18 on Sunday. I plan on doing all the things I did before.

"In a stressful job, you have to stay in shape and that will help now. You need to be busy. There is no reason why you can't function with this type of cancer."

Henson has already undergone treatments for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a malignant cancerous growth of B or T cells in the lymph system.

"I underwent chemotherapy, which will be the primary treatment," Henson said. "I went to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and that went well. I'll be able to undergo most of my treatment here in Las Cruces. The fact that I have a lot of energy and keep in good shape is in my favor. I have a lot of support and I'll be fine.

"I don't plan on taking this lightly. I know more about cancer now than I ever did before, and I know what I am up against. This cancer is treatable."

Henson said he'll have to undergo treatment for four to six months. The treatments usually run for three days, according to Henson. The first day of treatment consists of six to eight hours, the second day approximately 1{ hours and the final day one hour.

Henson, 762-386 in 40 years as a coach, including 272-126 in 15 seasons at New Mexico, is looking forward to this season.

"If I can't do the job or put in the time, I will say something," Henson said of coaching. "I fully intend on working and getting a lot done. My assistants have done a great job. I missed the second half of the July recruiting period, but my assistants did a good job of handling that. But I need to be here."

Henson has met with his players, but didn't talk to them about his cancer.

The veteran coach already has a busy schedule planned. He's leaving later this week to give a speech in San Jose in addition to keeping his regular routine at the office.

"Coach looks good, he looks like he hasn't missed a beat," assistant coach Chris Crutchfield said. "He got back here, he worked and we had a meeting up until 6 p.m. on Friday and talked about the upcoming season and other things. It was great seeing him and seeing him work again and doing what he loves to do.

"Coach Henson has such great energy. He'll be fine and he'll work hard like he always does."

New Mexico State opens practice in October with its first regular-season game scheduled for Nov. 22 at home against New Mexico Highlands.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index