Henson may try for 'last hurrah'

Originally Published: January 22, 2005
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

New Mexico State coach Lou Henson will announce his retirement at a Saturday, a source within the Aggies' athletic department told ESPN.com.

Henson will cite his health as a reason for retiring at a news conference on the Las Cruces campus. But the source said that Henson may still coach one or two games near the end of the season as a "last hurrah," if his health permits.

Henson, 73, is 21 wins short of 800 for his career. But Henson has been battling health problems for the past year. In the summer of 2003, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer. The cancer is in remission and he coached last season while seeking treatment.

But then in September he contracted viral encephalitis. He was left partially paralyzed. He was planning on coming back to coaching on Jan. 8 from a wheelchair, but he was hospitalized two days earlier with pneumonia.

Throughout the season, Henson has watched game tape with the coaching staff and attended practices in a wheelchair or golf cart. Henson has been in constant contact with the coaching staff about game and practice decisions.

Henson, 779-412, will get the credit for any wins this season. The Aggies are 4-13 overall, 0-4 in the Sun Belt Conference.

Interim head coach Tony Stubblefield will remain in charge of the Aggies. Stubblefield will meet with NMSU athletic director McKinley Boston on Saturday afternoon as well as the board of regents to discuss his future.

Stubblefield, 34, will be a candidate for the permanent position. But there will be plenty of interest, notably from Arizona State assistant coach Tony Benford, Oklahoma State assistant coach James Dickey and former SMU coach Mike Dement.

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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