Retired NMSU coach led Illini for 21 years

Updated: January 27, 2005, 8:25 PM ET
Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Retired New Mexico State coach Lou Henson is being honored at the University of Illinois, where he coached for 21 years before returning to New Mexico.

City officials said they will rename a section of First Street, which passes by Assembly Hall, as Lou Henson Court.

Mayor Jerry Schweighart proposed the idea Tuesday to the city council, which unanimously approved the designation. Schweighart said the idea originated from a caller to a local radio show.

Henson will be in town this weekend along with some 350 former players, coaches, managers and aides for a celebration of UI's 100th year of basketball. Officials said the signs would be made hurriedly in time for the event.

Henson, 73, retired Saturday from his job as head coach of NMSU, concluding a career in which he compiled a 779-413 record to become the sixth-winningest coach in Division I history.

"Mr. Henson is really the epitome of the qualities we'd like to see coming out of the University of Illinois," council member Kathy Ennen said.

Schweighart said a Lou Henson Court street sign will be presented to Henson at halftime of Saturday's game against the University of Minnesota.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press