Hall of Fame Class of 2020

CCC announces 2020 Hall of Fame class

Thu Dec 17, 2020

Colby Community College announced the individuals who will be welcomed to the CCC Alumni Hall of Fame. The class of 2020 includes the late Max and Pat Embree, retired business instructor Bob Selby, women's basketball All-American Louise McLean Brown, and men's basketball All-American EJ Drayton.

The Alumni Hall of Fame was established in 2012. Each year a committee selects individuals or couples who have made a substantial contribution to the college through personal time, effort and interest, or have contributed in a significant way to the lives of others after being part of Colby Community College.  Two of the inductees are athletes who achieved excellence through competition and honor, coaches who have made a difference in the lives of their athletes, or supporters of CCC athletics. Previous inductees are listed on the college website at www.colbycc.edu/hof.

Max and Pat Embree

The Embrees were longtime supporters of the college. They had a strong interest in community development and growing the Colby area's education and cultural environment.

Max grew up in Hutchinson and played football at Hutchinson Community College. After graduating from the University of Kansas, he married Pat Grady, from Colby. He worked with Pat's father, Denny, and eventually operated the family farm.

In Colby, Max served many years on the Hi-Plains Coop board, Thomas County Kansas State University Extension Council, and Colby City Council. While on the city council, he was a founding member of the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency (KMEA) in 1980. 

Former councilmember and current KMEA board member Pat Mallory said municipalities across the state held Max in high regard.

"He was so respected that they have an award named after him," said Mallory.

The Max Embree Award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and devoted service to both KMEA and public power.

"It was because of his work helping to get KMEA started that Colby has had some of the cheapest electricity rates in the state," Mallory said.

Lyle Saddler became good friends with Max when Saddler returned to Colby after graduating from college.  

"He got me involved in the COOP and leadership roles," he said. "Max was a great mentor and always available for advice and friendship. He was one of the smartest and well-read people around but never let on that he was that guy."

Saddler said Max Always showed respect for others and that his generosity often went unrecognized because he did not seek the spotlight.

"He spent a lot of his own time and money on projects that most people didn't know he was doing. It just needed to be done for the good of the community."

That philosophy stayed with Max for the rest of his life. According to Saddler, Max insisted there was not a funeral service when he passed.

"He believed that what he did alive was his memorial."

Pat was involved in a variety of community activities. She and Max were active with the Thomas County Historical Society and provided a lot of early Thomas County history about the Grady family. When she was not golfing, Pat loved to play bridge with her mother Gail and her cousin Carmelita Calhoon and enjoyed arts and crafts.

The Embrees did not have any children but regarded Pat's cousins, nieces, and nephews as their own and had many family and friends associated with the institution. Carmelita taught math at CCC in the 1970s and early 80s. Her daughters, Cathy, Crystal, and Kelley, all graduated from CCC.

Crystal worked at the college for 15 years as the housing director and student services administrative assistant. She has fond memories with her sisters gathering at the Embrees during the holidays. Carmelita would play the piano, and the group of nearly 50 relatives, friends, and neighbors would sing carols.

Pat passed in 2005. After the death of Max in 2011, a large part of their estate was left to the CCC Endowment Foundation. In 2018, the college's three-story student housing building, formerly known as Living Center Northeast, was renamed Embree Hall.

Bob Selby

An accounting and economics instructor, Bob Selby taught 37 years at CCC, including 28 as a division chair, before retiring in 2015. For more than 25 years, he was the advisor for Phi Beta Lambda, a professional organization for business majors, and served as the Kansas state advisor for many years.

Selby is a Brewster High School graduate and earned a business degree from Fort Hays State University. He held high school teaching posts in Paradise and Ashland before returning to Hays to work on a master's degree in business. It was there that he saw a familiar face from CCC, former president Dr. James Tangeman.

"Dr. Tangeman was one of my graduate professors and encouraged me to apply at CCC, where there was an opening in the business department. I accepted the position in the fall of 1978."

For nearly four decades, Selby was a member of the Kansas National Education Association and served as an officer for several years in the CCC Faculty Alliance.  From 1983 to 1991, he was the executive director of the Miss Troia-Thomas County Scholarship Pageant and then was the Western Kansas Field Director for the Miss Kansas organization until 1997.

His retirement has been busy. He remains active at CCC as a member of the Business Department Advisory Council and serving on the Community Volunteer Committee for Campus Beautification.

"My blood bleeds blue, and Colby Community College holds a special place in my heart," he said.

Additionally, Selby serves as the secretary of the Thomas County Historical Society that oversees the Prairie Museum of Art and History. He chairs the annual "Festival of Christmas" auction at the museum. He is also a member of the Duplicate Bridge Club, participating in Marathon Bridge that provides scholarships to Thomas County students.

"I am honored to be inducted into the Colby Community College Hall of Fame," he said. "For the most part, I loved every minute working at CCC. I treasure the many memories of friends, students, faculty, and administration. If I made a difference in even one student's life, it was worth it."

Selby has one daughter, Jennifer, who is a CCC graduate. She and her husband Jason Treaster live in Hutchinson with their 11-year-old daughter Brynn.  

Louise McLean Brown

Brown was a member of the Trojans from 2002 to 2004. She ranks ninth in career points (881) at CCC. She also holds school records for single-game assists with 19 and single-season assists with 253.

A two-time Jayhawk Conference first team selection, Brown also made the Region VI second team her freshman year. In her sophomore campaign, she collected Region VI first team and NJCAA All-America honors. 

"I'm extremely grateful for being inducted into the Colby Community College Hall of Fame. It has come as a huge surprise – thank you!"

After leaving Colby in 2004, Brown returned to Australia and continued to play basketball at a state level and then professionally in the Women's National Basketball League for the Bendigo Spirit. Currently, she plays and coaches her women's senior team and coaches junior 14 and under girls. As the Basketball Academy coach at her former high school, Brown works as a teacher aide at Saint Pius and Brauer College. She lives in her hometown of Warrnambool, Victoria, with her husband Matthew, sons Jaylen and Tommy, and a third child expected in January.

Brown often thinks about her stay at CCC.

"It was a time that I will forever cherish," she said. "I made some lifetime friends and memories in my two years there. The support that we received as a team from coaches, teachers, and the community was unforgettable. There are too many people to thank individually, but a very special thanks to Coach Tom Stephens and his wife, Dawn. Without the two of them, my time at Colby would never have been possible."

EJ Drayton

From Raleigh, N.C., the 6-foot-8 Drayton played for the Trojans from 2002 to 2004. During his first year, he scored in double figures in 30 of 33 games, averaging 17.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per contest on his way to Jayhawk Conference Freshman of the Year. The Trojans advanced to the region semifinals and were ranked 15th in the final NJCAA poll.

Drayton returned for a spectacular sophomore season to shoot 45 percent from the floor, including 36 percent from three-point range. He averaged 17.0 points and 7.4 rebounds while helping Colby to a 24-7 record when they spent much of the season ranked in the top 10.

Brian Ostermann was the head coach during Drayton's career with the Trojans.

"EJ was a special player for us at Colby and was a key to taking Trojan basketball to a top-10 program," he said. He is certainly deserving of this honor and will go down as one of the all-time greats in Colby basketball history."

In two seasons at CCC, Drayton's teams went 50-14. His 1,064 career points are second in program history. He was a Jayhawk West and Region VI first team selection twice and earned All-America honors in both seasons.

"EJ was part of a special group of guys and brought a lot of memories to the Colby community," Ostermann added. "One really has to mention his fellow classmates that each played for two seasons – Justin Williams, Branden Miller, Dillion Sneed, Zane Davis, Sam Jackson, and KJ Wilkins.  All of them made those two years a special time in EJ's career for sure, and mine as well."

After graduating from CCC, Drayton continued his career at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and earned a bachelor's degree in marketing.

He currently lives in Charlotte and is the founder and owner of Jaunt Media Group.                                                                                                                                                                                          

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Hall of Fame Class of 2020