Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Richard Benson, December 21, 2015

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:00 - Recruiting and starting at UK

Play segment

Partial Transcript: This is Dennis Emery, and I'm on--here on December 21st, 2015...

Segment Synopsis: After having his accomplishments listed by the interviewer, Benson describes his recruitment by the University of Kentucky Tennis program and his introduction to life as a collegiate tennis player. He notes the pressure of maintaining good academic scores in addition to practicing tennis.

Keywords: All American; Collegiate tennis; Doubles; Junior USTA Interscholastic Championships; Ogden (Utah); University of Kentucky; University of Kentucky Athletics

Subjects: College athletes--Recruiting; College sports; College sports--Kentucky; Universities and colleges

00:04:01 - The Hilary Boone Center

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What do you remember about the facilities that, that we played in?

Segment Synopsis: Benson recalls the allure of UK's indoor tennis facility as a factor in his decision to play at UK.

Keywords: Hilary J. Boone Tennis Center, Lexington (Ky.); Lexington Tennis Club

Subjects: College sports--Coaching; College sports--Kentucky; Indoor sports; Sports facilities

00:06:31 - Freshman year

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, so your freshman year, you know essentially we, we had done pretty good.

Segment Synopsis: Benson remembers events from his freshman year at UK. He specifically remembers the encouragement his coach provided, which Benson recalls as a boost to his self-esteem as a young player.

Keywords: Greg Van Emburgh; ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships; Kenny Riley; Pat McGee; University of Georgia

Subjects: College sports; College sports--United States--Awards; University of Kentucky--Sports--History

00:10:50 - Sophomore year

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Let's move on to your sophomore year.

Segment Synopsis: Benson describes some of the more memorable matches and tournaments from his sophomore year. That year was especially important for Benson, as it gave him his first opportunity to excel at the collegiate level as a doubles partner.

Keywords: Blue Gray National Tennis Classic; Charles Beckman; Dennis Ralston; Doubles; Greg Van Emburgh; ITA Men's All-American Championships; ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships; Luke Jensen; Mixed doubles; Pepperdine University; SEC Tennis Tournament; Southern Methodist University; Stanford University; University of California, Los Angeles; University of Texas

Subjects: College sports--Awards; College sports--Coaching; Tennis--Tournaments; University of Kentucky--Sports--History

00:23:23 - First NCAA Tournament

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What that win did for us was propelled us into the NCAA tournament.

Segment Synopsis: Benson recalls UK's 1987 NCAA Tournament team and the matches the team had in that tournament. He describes the emotions and attitudes teams will have in those sorts of situations.

Keywords: Athens (Ga.); Ball State University Richey Reneberg; Dan Magill Tennis Complex; Danny Goldberg; Den Bishop; Ed Nagel; NCAA Tennis Tournament; Seeding; University of California, Irvine; University of Southern California

Subjects: National Collegiate Athletics Association; Tennis players--Biography; Tennis umpires; Tennis--Tournaments

00:36:47 - The Benson-Emburgh double

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You know, you and Greg were a great doubles team.

Segment Synopsis: Benson comments further on his experience playing doubles with Greg Van Emburgh. He notes how that experience not only augmented his skills as a player, but also left him with experiences that he has translated into his tennis coaching career.

Keywords: Greg Van Emburgh; Liberty University; Tennis coaching

Subjects: College sports; College sports--Coaching; Tennis players; Tennis--Backhand; Tennis--Doubles; Tennis--Forehand; Tennis--Serve; Tennis--Volley

00:43:15 - Junior year

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well let's go into your junior year now.

Segment Synopsis: Benson discusses tournaments and matches from his junior year. That year was marked by wins by the Kentucky team at Pepperdine and UCLA, two schools with great talent and history. Benson also discusses the SEC tournament from that year, the parity of which made for tough competition.

Keywords: Andrew Schneider; Cary Cohenour; Clay courts; Craig Johnson; Davis Cup; Doubles; Jeff Brown; Junior college transfers; Los Angeles Tennis Center; Mario Rincon; Patrick Galbraith; Pepperdine University; SEC Tournament; Singles; UCLA; USTA National Clay Court Championships; Willie Lehman

Subjects: College sports--United States--Awards; Junior colleges; Tennis courts; Tennis--Tournaments

01:09:56 - NCAA's in junior year

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And now we move on to the NCAA's.

Segment Synopsis: Benson discusses the NCAA championship tournament from his junior year, which featured some very heated and contentious matches for Benson and the Kentucky team. Benson is also praised by his former coach for his aggressive and intense style of play.

Keywords: Brian Page; Chuck Kriese; Clemson University; Greg Van Emburgh; John Sullivan; Mario Rincon; Patrick McEnroe

Subjects: College sports; College sports--Coaching; College sports--Kentucky; Tennis--Serve; Tennis--Tournaments; University of Kentucky--Sports--History

01:23:28 - Senior year

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Now, as a senior, you know, we were top-10 preseason.

Segment Synopsis: Benson describes some matches from his senior year at UK, including their victory over defending champion Stanford in Lexington, and their upset loss to TCU in the NCAA tournament.

Keywords: Al Parker; Freshmen class; Greg Van Emburgh; Hilary Boone Tennis Complex; Louisville (Ky.); Martin Blackman; SEC Indoor Tournament; Stanford University; Texas Christian University; Umpires; University of California, Irvine; University of Georgia; University of Southern California

Subjects: College athletes; College athletes--Recruiting; Sports officials; Tennis--Backhand; Tennis--Tournaments

01:42:54 - The Benson-Malik double

Play segment

Partial Transcript: That year you played doubles, as we've talked about a little earlier.

Segment Synopsis: Benson describes the differences in play he remembers between his partners Greg Van Emburgh and Adam Malik.

Keywords: Adam Malik; Greg Van Emburgh; Mario Rincon

Subjects: College athletes; College sports--Coaching; College sports--United States--Awards; Tennis--Backhand; Tennis--Doubles

01:47:26 - Professional career

Play segment

Partial Transcript: When you finished, after UK, let's just talk about what you did after that for a minute.

Segment Synopsis: Benson describes his four years as a professional tennis player. He lists several tournaments in which he competed as a single, and he also addresses his success as a professional double with Adam Malik.

Keywords: ATP Challenger Tour; Adam Malik; Cedric Pioline; Mark Rosset; Singles; Swiss Open

Subjects: College sports; Professional sports; Tennis players; Tennis--Doubles; Tennis--Singles

01:52:28 - Christian ministry through tennis

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And then you decided to pursue what was your passion.

Segment Synopsis: Benson describes some of his work that came after his professional tennis career, in which he worked for a paving company that designed tennis courts, and as a director within a college athlete Christian ministry.

Keywords: Athletes in Action; Campus Crusade for Christ; Coaching; Louisville (Ky.)

Subjects: Christian athletes; College sports--Coaches; Faith; Families; Marriage

01:58:01 - Coaching

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well now you're coaching.

Segment Synopsis: Benson describes his position as associate head coach at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. His career in coaching began, however, as a volunteer assistant at the University of Louisville, which gave him the opportunity to return to UK, though as an opponent.

Keywords: Liberty University; University of Louisville; Volunteer coaching

Subjects: College athletes; College sports; College sports--Coaching; Sports rivalries; Universities and colleges