In case you missed it, Fighting Illini Athletics inducted 28 former student-athletes and coaches into their Hall of Fame on Friday night. It was a great event at the Field Museum, by all accounts, however there was one noticeable exclusion from the inaugural class: former basketball coach Lou Henson.
It was impossible to include every deserving candidate in this first wave of Illinois legends, yet Henson was arguably the biggest snub considering his contributions to the Champaign-Urbana community over the years.
Luckily, he won’t be waiting too much longer. Athletic director Josh Whitman announced at the event that Henson will be the first member of Illinois’ 2018 Hall of Fame class.
Henson began his Illini coaching career in 1975 when Gene Bartow left to replace John Wooden at UCLA, and he guided the program to a 423-224 (214-164) overall record during his 21 years on the job.
Henson is perhaps most well known for coaching the 'Flying Illini' during the 1989 season. That team went 31-5 (14-4) en route to the Final Four, and they’re widely regarded as the best — or second-best — team in the history of Illinois basketball.
Illinois previously honored Henson by re-naming the basketball court at the State Farm Center.