An Elite Duo
One of eight Golden Bear doubles teams to win an NCAA doubles title, Paul Newton and Richard Bennett were the first Cal tandem ever to repeat as national champions, winning the crown in 1935 and again in 1937.
The dynamic duo of Newton and Bennett arrived at Cal in the fall of 1933. Experienced players coming out of high school, they quickly became good friends and proved themselves as strong players during their freshman year. It was then that coach Tom Stow made possibly one of the best coaching decisions in his entire career. Taking into consideration their on-court prowess and off-court chemistry, Stow decided to see what the pair could do as doubles partners.
In their sophomore season, Newton and Bennett received the necessary funding for the trip east to the NCAA Championships in Evanston, Ill., and won the men's doubles title for California.
As NCAA champions, the tandem was beset with invitations to regional tournaments. After doing some barnstorming on the East Coast, Newton and Bennett literally played their way across the country all the way back to Berkeley. This style of summer vacation seemed to agree with the pair as they did it again as juniors and seniors and compiled 13 state championships as they worked their way home each year.
Named team co-captains their senior season, they helped lead the Bears to the Pacific Coast Conference title with a 7-1 overall, and 5-1 conference record in 1937, including two 5-4 victories over Stanford. After the conference season, it was back to the East Coast and their second NCAA championship in three years. As a matter of fact, Newton and Bennett just missed out on winning the title three years in a row as they fell to the tandem from Stanford in a five-set semifinal in 1936. Newton still claims that the conference championship, and not his NCAA titles, was the most important accomplishment as a Golden Bear.
To go along with his impressive doubles play, Bennett won the California state singles championship in 1937 and reached the semifinals of the NCAA singles tournament that same year.
Both Newton and Bennett are members of the Northern California Tennis Hall of Fame.