Lou Henson dies at 88

You were magnificent, Coach.

1980's Illini basketball has been unparalleled in my lifetime.......in terms of superiority, consistency and longevity. You set the bar very high with a perennial Top 15 program that competed each year for Big 10 and NCAA titles. Thanks for the memories!
Geneseo, IL
One of my college roommates was an ag engineering major and he made a free-throw shooting machine as a project. It was similar to the jugs machines you see that throw baseballs or footballs. There was a photo-op that was set up with some media and Coach Henson came down to the lab to see it work. Since I was the buddy of the person who made the machine I was able to attend and meet Lou. He was dressed in a suit and tie and watched intently as the machine hit shot after shot. He then proceeded to take off his coat, loosen his tie, and then give everyone in attendance a tutorial on how to shoot free throws. Without any warm up he calmly sank like 7 or 8 in a row, I honestly don't remember them even grazing the rim. It left the impression on me the level of excellence it must take to coach or play sports at such a high level. And also what a nice man Henson was.
Washington State
Seems like the appropriate time and thread for favorite Lou stories if anyone’s got one to share. Never had the pleasure to meet the man, but he was the coach when I was growing up, a positive role model and someone you’d want representing the university.
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Ordained Dudeist Priest
Johns Creek, GA
One of the classiest men to ever walk a basketball sideline. I got to meet him once (waited on his table at Mountain Jack's the summer of 88) and both he and Mary were as warm and gracious as anyone could be. I know it was the football slogan, but with Lou at the helm, the 80's belonged to the (Flying) Illini.
Wow, this felt like a gut punch; I could see the headline on the home page but no picture yet (as it was still loading), but my heart sank, knowing that the picture would eventually load of Lou. :(

RIP, legend! So glad you got to live long enough to see our court named after you. Hope we can play a season this year to play inspired in your honor!
Gut punch is exactly how I'd describe what I just felt seeing that. I'm actually choked up. I went to my first Illini game in 1980, I think. Lou Henson will always be THE coach.
Chevy Chase, Maryland
RIP coach. He was a great leader of you men and a good basketball mind. In my search for information, I found this tidbit

WSJ: the lost art of the comb over (Lou-Do)
Mad props on finding that WSJ article.:

"My advice," Mr. Henson says, "to guys like me who are losing a little: Wash it, blow it dry. Use a fine-tooth comb and comb it and wrap it around. And then spray it."

Though on the trailing edge of fashion, the comb-over remains unbeatable in its versatility. The classic side-to-side comb-over covers everything from a high forehead to a stark-naked crown. Front-to-back covers the so-called monk's patch. Back-to-front softens a widow's peak. And most impressive of all is the U-turn, such as Mr. Henson's, starting above or behind one ear, sweeping out over the forehead and veering back toward the opposite ear.

The U-turn. Lol. He was truly one-of-a-kind.
Chevy Chase, Maryland
You were magnificent, Coach.

1980's Illini basketball has been unparalleled in my lifetime.......in terms of superiority, consistency and longevity. You set the bar very high with a perennial Top 15 program that competed each year for Big 10 and NCAA titles. Thanks for the memories!
He set the bar high, where it should be. We're nearly back to the point at which it's not "will we make the Dance?" but rather "what's our seed going to be?" As it should be. BU gets that.
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West Coast
A life well led! Couch Lou will be missed.

Watched the end of the GT game they just aired in his honor...nice touch BTN.
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Always Illini
Central Illinois
What a great coach and even better person. Hard to argue that he is anything but the best ever for Illinois. So sad to lose his presence in CU and around Illini Basketball. Prayers for Mary and the family in their time of loss.
Bonnaroo Land
RIP Lou. You provided so many great moments and memories for Illini Nation. You will be sorely missed and fondly remembered always.
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Sad day for Illini Nation. Lou was a great coach and a class act, especially compared to some of his contemporaries. Never got to meet him but I did attend his last game as Illini coach (the NIT loss against Alabama). RIP Coach.
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very sad. Lou was a coach to be proud of and a better person.
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Sorry in advance for the length of this but so, so many great memories of Lou Henson. I was a kid in the 80s who grew up on Illini basketball and football (which is why I don't accept the argument we should be content that Illini football can't compete with Wisconsin and Northwestern let alone Minnesota for goodness sakes) ... Lou, you and your teams hooked me on Illini basketball. Thank you. Made me a lifelong fan. Made Assembly Hall one of the best home court advantages in the country. Made me to this day almost 40 years later see my mood swings change to a probably unhealthy level based on the results of Illini games.

There certainly were times when your teams drove me insane especially losing some of those NCAA games to Austin Peay, Villanova, Alabama...but of course I didn't realize at the time that losing those maddening NCAA games were 1,000 times better than the last 10 years of Illini basketball when we can't even sniff the type of program Lou built. (certainly encouraged that Brad Underwood and his assistants are building us back to where Lou, Jimmy Collins and company had it)

In the 80s Illinois basketball truly was one of the elite programs in the country, a top four seed in the NCAA tournament year after year while going toe to toe with some great, great teams in the Big Ten. I don't know if kids today realize just how consistent and successful those Illinois teams were, year after year. Think about 1984, Illinois didn't have any future NBA stars or even any NBA players now that I think about it, and they were the ridiculous situation of playing Kentucky on their home court away from playing against Patrick Ewing and Aakeem Olajuwon in the Final Four. Just loved the consistent toughness of Lou's 1980s teams.

Then went to Illinois in the early 90s and got to know Lou while working at the Daily Illini and learned not only was he a great coach but a total class act, as others have said here. Trying to think of my favorite memories and certainly calling out Bobby Knight for being a classic bully, which he is/was, Lou walking off the court after beating Syracuse in the '89 regional final holding up Nick Anderson and Kenny Battle's arms, but mostly I'll remember him showing the country what Illini basketball can be with that amazing run of success in the 80s that was only stopped by the crap from Bruce Pearl and Iowa. And when you think about it, even as much as Illinois basketball "struggled" in the early 90s, those 4-5 years were way, way better than this past decade. Lou Henson, thank you, and I'm so glad Brad Underwood seems to get everything Lou meant and seems to have Illinois basketball back on the path Lou had it. Go Illini