Lou Henson, Final Four Coach With Two Schools, Dies at 88

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His survivors include his wife and three daughters, Lori Henson, Lisa Rutter and Leigh Anne Edison; a sister, Rosemary Yates; a brother, Ken; 12 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. A son, Lou Jr., was the basketball coach at Parkland College, a community college in Champaign, when he was killed in an automobile accident in 1992.

After his retirement, Henson split his time between Las Cruces and Champaign. A passionate bridge player, he participated in many local tournaments. In his later years, as he dealt with his lymphoma, he golfed and swam regularly.

Henson was proud of his players’ post-collegiate achievements. He once said, “I have doctors, lawyers and business people all over the country.”

He acknowledged the pressures of his job. “It’s not a normal profession,” he said. “If you don’t learn to live with it, you don’t coach.”

Through all the late-hour demands, he found time for his growing daughters. Lori, the eldest, told The Chicago Tribune in 1995, “We lived our father’s career.” She added: “It’s part of your life. It surrounds you.”

Leigh Anne, the youngest daughter, said that as a child she would draw basketball plays and leave them on her father’s desk.

“After the game,” she said, “he would say, ‘Did you see that play of yours we used?’ And I’d say yes. I believed it for the longest time.”

Frank Litsky, a longtime sportswriter for The Times, died in 2018. Julia Carmel contributed reporting.

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