8th Class of Inductees Chosen for IHCC Athletic Hall of Fame

OTTUMWA – There will be four additions to the Indian Hills Athletic Hall of Fame after a selection committee voted to include them as the 8th HOF class at Indian Hills Community College.

Going into the Hall of Fame are former All-American basketball players Shelly Clark and Cory Hightower, along with Irving Falu and Ramon Vazquez, both former baseball standouts.

The addition of these four individuals brings to 45 the number of athletes and coaches, along with three other individuals, in the HOF.

This year’s Hall of Fame inductees include:

Shelly Clark, Basketball (1991-93)

Shelly Clark was a leader on the first Indian Hills basketball team to make it to the NJCAA National Tournament and he remains the school’s all-time leading rebounder.  Clark averaged 16 points, 12 rebounds and 2.4 steals as a freshman and was named first-team all-region and the team MVP.  The next year he boosted his averages to 17.4 points and 13 rebounds and repeated as first-team all-region and team MVP for the national tourney team.  Clark capped his IHCC career by being named to the all-tournament team at Hutch, where he scored 96 points and grabbed 60 rebounds in four games.  He was named an honorable mention All-American, only the third basketball player to earn that honor.  The Chicago native is still first in single-season and career rebounds and in the top-five in nine other season or career categories.  After graduating from Indian Hills, Clark played two seasons at the University of Illinois, where he averaged 9.5 points and 6.4 rebounds as a junior and 11.8 points and 8.3 rebounds the next year.

Irving Falu, Baseball (2001-03)

Parlaying an outstanding sophomore season at Indian Hills into a spot in the Major League Baseball draft, Irving Falu embarked on a professional career that is still going, more than 15 years after he left IHCC.  Falu, a native of Puerto Rico, batted .246 as an Indian Hills freshman, then put together a solid sophomore season in which he hit .374, slugged seven homers and knocked in 37 runs, leading the Falcons to a JUCO World Series berth.  The Kansas City Royals took Falu in the 21st round of that year’s draft and his professional career began.  He has played in the pros for 16 years, including major league stints with the Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres.  Falu has been with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs in the Washington Nationals organization the past two seasons and, in total, has played in 1,673 minor league games with 6,265 at-bats.  He spent four full seasons with the Royals’ farm club in Omaha before making his major league debut with Kansas City in 2013.

Cory Hightower, Basketball (1998-2000)

A first-team All-American at Indian Hills as a sophomore, Cory Hightower got a national championship ring the year before when he was the MVP of the national tournament as IHCC won its third consecutive national title.  Hightower averaged 15.6 points a game during the title-winning year of 1998-99 and scored in double figures in all four games at the national tourney.  He increased his scoring average to 22.6 the next season and was named first-team all-region for the second straight year.  Hightower had career averages of 17.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.0 steals per game.  He is number-six on the all-time Warriors’ scoring list.  The Flint, Michigan native was drafted by the San Antonio Spurs in the 2nd round of the 2000 NBA Draft and his rights were traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.  Hightower went on to play professionally for a number of years, both in the U.S. and internationally.

Ramon Vazquez, Baseball (1994-95)

Ramon Vazquez came to Indian Hills from his native Puerto Rico in 1994 and has been involved in professional baseball ever since leaving IHCC.  With the Falcons, in the 1995 season, Vazquez batted .367 with five homers and 37 RBIs and was one of the key players on that year’s JUCO World Series team.  The Seattle Mariners drafted him in the 27th round after the season and Vazquez played in the pros for more than 15 years.  His MLB debut came in 2001 with the Mariners and he saw action in the big leagues with the Padres, Red Sox, Indians, Rangers and Pirates, compiling a lifetime .254 batting average.  After retiring as an active player, Vazquez was a minor league instructor, coach and manager.  He spent the 2017 season as a major-league coach for the Padres, then took on the job of coordinating statistical analysis and advanced scouting data for the World Series champion Boston Red Sox in 2018.  After the championship season, Vazquez returned as the manager of Santurce in the Puerto Rican winter league, where one of his players is fellow Hall of Fame-inductee Irving Falu.

The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place at halftime of the IHCC basketball game with Iowa Western on Saturday, Feb. 23.