Paul Bickley Bennett
During his long tenure as Northwestern's tennis coach, Bennett was respected by the tennis world as a coach and an educator. In addition to being the guiding force behind the Wildcat program for 27 years, he also helped change the face of intercollegiate tennis competition.
Bennett's affiliation with Northwestern began in 1931 when he assumed the role of head tennis coach. During his tenure, the Waterloo, Iowa, native coached squads to seven Big Ten championships (including four consecutive titles from 1947-50). Six of his players won Big Ten singles championships and five of his doubles teams also captured titles. He was elected an Honorary N Club member in 1950.
Bennett's contributions to the world of collegiate tennis are numerous. He was the founder of the College Tennis Coaches' Association, chaired the NCAA Tennis Committee, and was responsible for moving the NCAA championships from a private club to college campuses. The Bennett Bowl, presented annually to the senior tennis player who exhibits the best all-around sportsmanship, is a major award at the NCAA championships today. Collegiate tennis recognized his contributions by posthumously inducting him as a charter member into the College Tennis Hall of Fame in 1984.
Prior to arriving at NU, Bennett lived for a number of years in Winnipeg, Canada, where he won the Canadian singles title (1920) and played on the Canadian Davis Cup Team (1921). He returned to the United States in 1923 and won the Iowa state amateur singles championship that same year. In 1924 he moved to Colorado where he managed to win that state's amateur singles title. Later, he also worked as a tennis professional at several country clubs in Colorado and Illinois.
Bennett received a PhB degree at the University of Chicago in 1915 and master's degree in physical education at Northwestern in 1932. He was a member of the basketball and tennis teams at the University of Chicago and was a runner-up for the Big Ten singles title during his senior year.
Bennett passed away in 1959.