NEW CANAAN – The final wrestler from Yale University to win a NCAA Division I national championship, James Bennett, was recently inducted into the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association’s (EIWA) Hall of Fame at the recent league championship meet.
Bennett was an unseeded wrestler at the 1975 NCAA Division I national championships when he beat three seeded wrestlers to win the NCAA title at 142 pounds. He beat the No. 1 seed from Oklahoma in the quarterfinals, the No. 5 seed from Purdue in the semifinals and the No. 3 Andre Allen from Northwestern, 5-3, in the championship match.
Bennett, who graduated from Yale in 1976 with honors with a degree in economics and Russian studies, was a two-time All-American. He finished fourth at 150 pounds as a senior in 1976 at the NCAA tournament. He was a two-time EIWA runner-up finished with a career record of 49-4.
The only other Yale wrestler to win a national championship in wrestling was Andy Fitch, who won at 115 pounds in 1959.
While studying at Harvard Business School, he served as an assistant coach for Harvard. Bennett also trained for the U.S. Olympic team and won the Northeast Regional Olympic freestyle trials. He finished eighth in the national trials in 1980.
As president of the Yale Wrestling Association, he has sought to reinstate Yale’s varsity program since it was eliminated in 1991. Bennett has been has been actively assisting wrestling programs at the youth, high school, college and national levels through various organizations.
Bennett and his wife, Amy, are active in athletic and educational philanthropy through the James and Amy Bennett Foundation. Bennett has been selected as the team leader for the USA women’s wrestling national team for the four-year cycle ending with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
After receiving an MBA from Harvard, Bennett began his career in investment banking at Kidder, Peabody. Thereafter, he has worked in the investment business and is the founder and President of Bennett Management.
Bennett grew up in Corry, Pennsylvania and graduated from Corry Area High School where he competed in cross country, track and field and wrestling, winning three state championships in two different sports. He won two PIAA Class A state championships in the pole vault and the PIAA state championship in wrestling.
Currently, Bennett resides in New Canaan with his wife and their two daughters.