SC State University Board of Trustees member, Donnie Shell, will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2020. Shell, who is a 1974 graduate of SC State, will join SC State Pro Football Hall of Famers, Harry Carson, David (Deacon) Jones and Marion Motley.
Shell played 14 years for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1974 – 1987. He is a member of the famed “steel curtain” defense, known for shutting down NFL offenses in the late 1970s. A few of his successes as a player include: four Super Bowl wins; selected to represent the AFC in the Pro Bowl five consecutive times; retired as the strong safety career leader in interceptions with 51; selected to the All Steelers All-Time Team, the NFL Silver Anniversary Super Bowl Team and the Steelers 75th anniversary team.
Following his stellar career as an athlete in the NFL, Shell was director of player development programs for the Carolina Panthers. In this role, he was the distinguished front office executive who coordinated all Panther player programs designed to help players succeed in their post-football careers. The programs included financial education, player assistance, career internships and continuing education. He also served for five years as a consultant to Johnson C. Smith University president, Dr. Ronald L. Carter.
Shell was recognized by the NFL in 2002 as a pioneer in player development and for the development of creative programs, such as the creation of the Winston/Shell Award. He is the recipient of the NFL award for the Best Player Program and was recognized for the Most Outstanding Player Program in 2000.
Shell has used his athletic skills and knowledge to assist and influence people in a positive manner. As reflected in his community involvement, Shell has been a servant leader by giving back to the community. He served as chairperson for Charlotte-based Friendship Trays’ Drive Away Hunger Golf Tournament, a fundraiser to provide food for the elderly in Mecklenburg County (Charlotte). He organized a fundraiser to support the Mel Blount Youth Home, and for three years, Shell partnered to provide breakfast and chapel services for the player development directors at their annual meetings.
SC State is proud to have another talented and tenacious graduate leave an imprint of greatness that will inspire the university family, community and beyond for years to come.
“I offer heartfelt congratulations to Trustee Shell on being selected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His selection is a well-deserved honor, and I could not be more proud than I am today. Trustee Shell has been an outstanding athlete and individual and we are happy to call him a “Loyal Son” of SC State University,” said SC State President James E. Clark.
Shell received a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education, with a minor in biology, and a master’s degree in education, both from SC State.
He is married to Paulette Richardson Shell. They are the proud parents of three children, April, Dawn and Donnie. They are also proud grandparents.