(Editor’s Note: This is the final story in a series which Courier sports writer Scott Jackson wrote about each of the five newest inductees into the Indian Hills Community College Athletic Hall of Fame. The induction ceremonies will be held Feb. 22)
OTTUMWA — For the third consecutive year, Indian Hills will pay honor to some of the greatest athletes on some of the greatest teams in school history.
For all the people that have gone in or will be inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall-of-Fame, perhaps no one deserves it more than Dr. Lyle Hellyer. Without Hellyer, there might not be any athletes to honor or great teams to remember.
Because without the former Indian Hills president, support for the athletic programs that have become so popular today may never have arrived.
“I always believed that athletics were a necessity,” said Hellyer, one of the first two IHCC Hall-of-Fame Athletic Lifetime Contribution honorees. “We’ve always been competitive. Our baseball program has become legendary. Our basketball team is one of the greatest in the entire country. With some hard work and some great people, I’m proud to say that Indian Hills is the best community college in the state of Iowa.”
For Hellyer, the growth of the college overall is something that has been an incredible source of pride. It was 53 years ago that Hellyer first took over as the Dean of Centerville Junior College, back during a time when IHCC athletic programs were playing on makeshift fields and dressing in sometimes makeshift locker rooms.
One immediate change Hellyer made when he took over the Centerville school was to add an athletic team. With fellow 2014 IHCC Hall-of-Fame inductee Ron Clark helping to get the program off the ground, Centerville JC started a football program just a few months before the team’s first game in 1963.