Five selected for 2019 Grizzly Athletic Hall of Fame induction class

Members of the 2019 Hall of Fame induction class.

The Grizzly Athletics Hall of Fame will grow by five members during an induction ceremony to be held on Saturday, Feb. 9.

The five inductees will be cross country and track Olympian Diane Nukuri, former NFL player Bruce Perkins, men's basketball standout Cleveland Jackson, women's soccer record holder Cindy Benitez and benefactor Ramon Criss, who will be inducted posthumously.

The induction will be held during halftime of the men's basketball game on Feb. 9. The game will tip off at 3 p.m.


DIANE NUKURI, Cross County and Track & Field

Olympian Diane Nukuri won nine national championships and was a 17-time All-American during her two seasons at Butler from 2004 to 2006. She won two titles each in half marathon, 1,600 meters, 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters, and was the individual cross country national champion in 2005. She was the two-time NJCAA Indoor Athlete of the Meet and set NJCAA meet records in half marathon and indoor 5,000 meters. Diane set NJCAA all-time records in half marathon, indoor 3,000 meters and indoor 5,000 meters. She was an 11-time Region VI champion, going undefeated at that meet both years. She was a three-time Region VI Athlete of the Meet. She holds 11 school records at Butler with her best times of 4:27.13 in 1,500 meters, 4:27 in 1,500 meters, 34:30 in 1,000 meters, 16:36 in 5,000 meters, 36:15 in 10,000 meters, 17:15 in cross country 5,000 meters, 21:12 in cross country 6,000 meters and 1:16:01 in half marathon. 

In her time at Iowa, Nukuri won two Big Ten Championships, in cross-country (2007) and the 5,000 meters in outdoor track (2008). She was named an All-American three times and won the Wilma Rudolph student-athlete award. She left Iowa with school records in ten events. She competed in the Olympics three times for her native country of Burundi – once as a 15-year-old in the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia. She also completed in the 2012 games in London and the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.



Cleveland Jackson poured in 49 points in a 97-93 win over Spirit Express in 1992. More than 26 years later, the record still stands. During his freshman year in 1990-91, he averaged 11 points and seven rebounds per game. As a sophomore in 1991-92, he finished the season averaging 25.9 points and 8.8 rebounds while leading the Grizzlies to an appearance in the national championship game at the NJCAA Tournament in Hutchinson. He also holds the Butler records for free throws in a game and consecutive free throws made (16 against Johnson County in 1992) and free throws attempted (18 vs KCKCC in 1992). He is the single-season record holder for points scored, with 896 in 1991-92. He is the career record holder for free throws made (318). He was named Junior College Player of the Year by the Basketball Times and was a consensus first-team All-America pick by the National Junior College Athletics Association, Basketball Times and Basketball Weekly.

After Butler, Jackson played two seasons at the University of Georgia. He played in 57 games for the Bulldogs, averaging 11 points and 2.9 rebounds as a junior in 1992-93 and 7.7 points and 3.0 rebounds in his senior season in 1993-94. He helped the Bulldogs appear in the NIT both years. He played one season of professional basketball in South America before starting his coaching career.



Bruce Perkins still holds the Butler record for rushing yards in a game. As a sophomore in 1987, he ran for 392 yards on 53 carries against Hutchinson. That season, he also ran for 290 yards against Dodge City and 289 yards against Garden City and 255 yards against Fort Scott. His 2,146 rushing yards that year are second only to Rudi Johnson's 2,224 yards in 1999. He finished his career with a record 398 rushing attempts and 2,597 rushing yards

After Butler, Perkins played two seasons at Arizona State, where he amassed nearly 1,000 yards of total offense and scored four touchdowns. He played two seasons in the NFL, playing in all 16 games and scoring two touchdowns in 1990 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and playing in 14 games in 1991 with the Indianapolis Colts.


CINDY BENITEZ, Women's Soccer

Cindy came to Butler from Garden City, Kan. and immediately made an impact for the Grizzlies. She is the all-time scoring leader at Butler with 198 points. She scored 83 goals, which is also the best in Butler history. She had 32 assists, which is tied for fifth in program history. She was at her best when it mattered most, scoring 16 game-winning goals, which is a Butler best. She had 15 hat tricks in her career, which are games in which she scored three or more goals. She had a career high of seven goals in a game, which she did three times. She also had two games with five goals. She was first-team All-Jayhawk Conference and first-team All-American both years.


RAMON CRISS, Benefactor

The Butler football office and locker room complex bears the name of lead donors Ramon and Betty Criss because of their donation to help build the facility in 2012. That was just one of the many projects that the generous El Dorado donor helped with through his lifetime. He was a long-time donor to the GrizzlyBackers, was a leading supporter of the annual Mountain Oyster Feed and was a charter member of the Butler Community College Foundation in 1967 and served on that organization's board of directors from 1990 to 1994. In 2010, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Foundation. For several years, he provided steak dinners for the Butler football team. Mr. Criss passed away on May 26, 2017 at the age of 82.


They will join 12 individuals and four teams as members of the hall of fame. Of the 12 individuals already enshrined, five are athletes, four are donors and three are coaches. The four teams are all national championship teams: 1953 men's basketball and coach Dave Weatherby, 1970 cross country and coach Ollie Isom, 1981 football and coach Fayne Henson and 1998 football and coach James Shibest.