URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — University of Illinois coaches are well-known from the field to the court — but you may not know their wives. Monday morning was the Illini Rebounders’ Annual Ladies Luncheon, which came with a twist this year.
WCIA’s own Jennifer Roscoe got to announce the first winner of the “Spirit of the Illini” award. The award honors someone who has contributed to the Illini family and helps unify the community.
The winner was Mary Henson. Henson is the wife of legendary Illini basketball coach Lou Henson. She said she was very shocked to get the award, and she’s very much grateful.
“It’s just one of those things that I never expected in a million years, you know? And I have to say, someone asked me today, ‘What would Lou be saying about this award?’ And I can tell you, he would be saying, ‘You got that award? You’re not supposed to be getting those awards, I get awards!” Henson joked.
She had one thing to say in particular to fans of the orange and blue.
“The message for right now, with this football season going on, have faith, guys. Have faith in our program and our players. I just want everybody to come out and support. Let those players see us out there screaming for them.”