UNO Athletic Hall of Fame 

A joint venture of the UNO Alumni Association and UNO Athletics, the UNO Athletic Hall of Fame began in 1975 to recognize former athletes, coaches, administrators and others who have made lasting contributions to Maverick Athletics. 



Bruce Benedict
A Millard High School graduate, Bruce Benedict played three seasons as a catcher for the Mavericks, from 1974 to 1976, when he was a Daktronics All-American. In 1975, he led the team in batting average (.382) and home runs (5). He ranks sixth in career on-base percentage (.462) and seventh in triples (8). The Mavericks had a combined record of 78-37 during his career, making the 1976 NCAA Regionals. 

The Atlanta Braves drafted Benedict in the fifth round of the 1976 MLB draft. He made his major league debut Aug. 18, 1978 — his 23rd birthday — and played 12 MLB seasons for the Braves. He led National League catchers in 1981 with 73 assists and 48 baserunners caught stealing and was a reserve for the 1981 National League All Stars. In 1982, Benedict led NL catchers with a .993 fielding percentage, as the Braves won the NL Western division title. That season he also tied an MLB record by throwing out three baserunners in one inning.  

Benedict was a reserve player for the National League in the 1983 All-Star Game. He ended that season with a career-high .298 batting average with two home runs and 43 RBI. He retired in 1989 having played in 982 games with 696 hits in 2,878 at bats (.242 avg.),18 home runs, 260 RBI and a .990 fielding percentage. 

Benedict later held several positions in the New York Mets organization and then was a scout for the St. Louis Cardinals. He also has served as an NCAA college basketball official. More recently he has been an Atlanta-based scout for the Chicago White Sox and owner of the Bruce Benedict Baseball Academy. 

Sandy Derby-Higdon
Sandy Derby Higdon was one of UNO’s most versatile track and field athletes ever during her UNO career from 1995-1999, earning All-American honors in 10 events, including six relay events and four individual events. She set and still holds the UNO indoor 500 meter record (1:14.28, 1999) and the outdoor 400 meter hurdles record (1:00.60, 1998). She set five other individual school records and was part of two team records that have since been eclipsed. On the career charts, she still ranks third for outdoor high jump (5-09 ¼), fourth for indoor high jump (5-08 ¼), and sixth for indoor pentathlon (3,522 points). 

At the national championships, Derby Higdon finished fifth in the high jump twice and seventh and eighth in the 400-meter hurdles. She also was part of the 4x400 relay team that finished second in the national meet. She was voted the outstanding performer at the NCC indoor meet in 1999 when she won the pentathlon. She captured two individual NCC indoor titles and the outdoor 4x400 title. For her career, Derby Higdon has the third most All-American honors earned by any UNO athlete with 10. 

She came to UNO from Nebraska’s Louisville High School, where she still holds five records. Today she is a sales director at Physicians Mutual Insurance Company, where she has worked for 14 years. She is married to fellow UNO graduate Ron Higdon, a former UNO Wrestling All-American and later associate head wrestling coach. They have two children.  

Danny B. Fulton
An Omaha Tech High School graduate, Danny Fulton played one season at Nebraska, then transferred to UNO and became one of its all-time greatest wide receivers. In 1976 he established what was then an NCAA all-class, single-season record with 1,581 receiving yards. He started that campaign with one of the university’s best single-game performances, netting 317 receiving yards at South Dakota, a UNO single-game record. He ended the year named a 1976 All-American.  

Fulton, 6-foot-2, 186 pounds and known as “The Steam Machine,” finished his UNO career with 152 catches and 2,739 yards (both still school records) and 26 touchdowns. In his final game, against Northern Arizona, he tallied 13 catches — still a UNO single-game record.  Fulton credited offseason work with former UNO star Marlin Briscoe with helping him develop his skills. 

The Buffalo Bills selected Fulton in the third round of the 1978 NFL draft, the No. 65 pick overall. That made him the second-highest selection in school history (Ron Sayers was No. 44 in 1969). Fulton played one season with Buffalo before spending two years with Cleveland.  

Fulton was inducted into the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame in 1987. He died in February 2018 at the age of 61. He is survived by his wife, Felicia, and daughter Danielle Fulton, a two-time UNO graduate. 

Janice Theresa Kruger
Janice Kruger was UNO’s head volleyball coach for nine years, compiling a record of 352-96-6. The Mavericks won five North Central Conference titles during her tenure and made six regional appearances, winning three regional titles. The Mavericks also finished fourth nationally in 1983 and were third in 1985, 1986 and 1987.  

Kruger’s best record came in 1983, when UNO finished 49-8. That remains a UNO single-season record for wins. A highlight came in 1986 when UNO defeated 10-time defending Big Eight Champion and No. 4-rated Nebraska in five games. Her teams won five consecutive North Central Conference championships from 1983-87. 

Kruger still has the second-most victories of any coach in UNO program history, and her .783 winning percentage is the highest of any coach.  

The American Volleyball Coaches Association named Kruger its National Coach of the Year in 1983 and 1986. She also was NCC Coach of the Year in both of those seasons. The Omaha World-Herald named her its 1987 state college coach of the year. 

Kruger left UNO to become head volleyball coach at Maryland, where she coached for 20 years, compiling a 280-249 record with four conference championships. She retired from coaching in 2007. Today she is a consultant at the Side-Out Foundation, which raises funds through volleyball to support and advocate for individuals with breast cancer. 

Greg Zanon
One of the greatest Maverick defensemen, Greg Zanon played four seasons for the Mavericks, from 1999 to 2003. Among all defensemen his career standings are first in goals (30), second in points (109) and second in assists (77). He is second among all players in shots (537) and is tied for 10th in game-winning goals (7). He also is tied for eighth among all players with 154 total games played.  

Zanon’s play earned him numerous honors. He was a 2001 and 2002 AHCA Second Team All-American and the team’s MVP in 2003 when he was a team captain. That year, he scored what then was a UNO single-game record of five points with a goal and four assists in a comeback win against Merrimack. Zanon also earned numerous conference awards in his career. 

The Ottawa Senators picked him in the fifth round of the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, 156th overall. After leaving UNO he played three seasons for the Milwaukee Admirals of the American Hockey League. He went on to play in 313 AHL games, scoring 17 goals with 85 assists. He made his NHL debut in 2005 with the Nashville Predators. He also played for Minnesota, Boston and Colorado. He played in 493 career NHL games with 12 goals and 50 assists. 

Today, he is married to 2003 UNO grad and former UNO volleyball player Jen Leonard Zanon and is head coach of Stillwater Area High School's boys ice hockey team in Oak Park Heights, Minnesota.