Henson hospitalized with pneumonia

Posted: Friday, January 07, 2005

LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico State coach Lou Henson was hospitalized Thursday with pneumonia and he won't return to the sideline this weekend in a wheelchair as planned.

Henson, stricken in September with viral encephalitis, was scheduled to coach for the first time this season on Saturday night when New Mexico State hosts North Texas.

''We expect him to make a full recovery, but he's obviously not coming on the bench this weekend,'' school spokesman Sean Johnson said Thursday.

Henson, who will turn 73 on Monday, was to attend practice on Thursday afternoon but became ill and went to a Las Cruces hospital, Johnson said.

Henson is 21 wins short of becoming only the fifth Division I coach with 800 career victories.

The viral encephalitis — an acute inflammatory disease of the brain — caused paralysis in his right leg. He's still unable to walk on his own because he has only slight movement in that leg.

In recent weeks Henson has been going through a vigorous rehab program.

Henson is in his 42nd year of coaching, with a career record of 779-408. He was at New Mexico State from 1966-75, then spent 21 years at Illinois. He reached the Final Four with the Aggies in 1970 and the Illini in 1989

Henson retired at Illinois in 1996, but he returned to coaching a year later when New Mexico State, his alma mater, fired Neil McCarthy. In the seven seasons since, the Aggies have had four 20-win seasons.

The Aggies (4-8) have struggled this season under interim coach Tony Stubblefield.

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