Illinois Pioneers

2013 Season Premiere: Lou Henson on Sept. 5

David Inge Returns to WILL to Host
Host David Inge with Lou Henson

Host David Inge with Lou Henson

Illinois Pioneers returns to WILL-TV in September, with retired WILL-AM host David Inge coming back to conduct engaging interviews with former Illini basketball coach Lou Henson (Sept. 5), University of Illinois early childhood education pioneer Lilian Katz (Sept. 12), and Wolfram Research co-founder Theo Gray (Sept. 19). Former Champaign mayor Dannel McCollum is featured on Sept. 26, interviewed by former WILL general manager Mark Leonard. David is a guest on WILL-AM's Focus at 10 am Thursday, Sept. 5.

In the season premiere episode at 7:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 5, Henson, the all-time Illinois leader in men’s basketball victories and one of only 11 coaches to take teams of two different schools to the Final Four, talks about how he got the best out of his teams and the danger of expecting too much from a player. “You try to be positive. You’re trying to make them better. If you jump on a player all the time about his weaknesses, he may get worse,” he said.

He also talks about his early life on a farm, his relationship with former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight, overcoming health problems, why he started wearing his trademark orange blazer and whether it irritated him that TV sportscaster Dick Vitale made fun of his hair, dubbed the “Lou 'do.”

This season of Illinois Pioneers, the third for the series, features interviews with people who have made significant contributions to life in central Illinois. Inge said he didn’t have to think for long before deciding to host the series in retirement. “I thought, ‘It could be fun, it could be challenging, and I think I know how to do it.’ ” David hosted WILL-AM’s talk show Focus for more than 30 years and hosted a number of WILL-TV series and specials before retiring in June 2012. In addition to more reading and yard work, he’s been walking daily at Meadowbrook Park in Urbana and shooting photos of plants in the park. “It’s always changing,” he said. “There’s always something new.”

It has been a relief for him to give up the pressure of doing a daily live radio show. “It was like cramming for exams every night,” David said. He’s enjoying the more relaxed recording schedule for Illinois Pioneers. He’ll be back with more new episodes in October and November.