Professional Football Player and Businessman
Donnie Shell was member of the famed Pittsburgh Steelers “Steel Curtain” defense which shut down NFL offenses in the late 1970s. Panthers Director of Player Development, Donnie Shell won four Super Bowls, was selected to represent the AFC in the Pro Bowl five times, and retired as the NFL strong safety career leader in interceptions with 51. He started all 11 straight years for the Steelers and was selected to the Steelers All-Time Team and to the NFL Silver Anniversary Super Bowl Team. Now with the Panthers, Shell has distinguished himself as a front office executive. Since 1994, Shell has coordinated all of the Panthers player programs – including financial education, family assistance, career internship, and continuing education; all programs designed to help players succeed following their on-field careers. Indicative of his efforts, Shell earned the “Best Player Programs” award in 1998 and 1999 and garnered the “Most Outstanding Player Programs” honor from the NFC in 2000. In 2002, the NFL Player Development Department created the “Winston/Shell Award” in honor of Shell for being one of the pioneers in player development and always having one of the most creative programs in the NFL. This award is presented annually to the club that has the most creative program. Shell joined the Panthers in January 1994. A 1974 graduate of South Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education with a minor in biology, Shell went on to earn his master’s degree in counseling education in 1977. He was elected to the MEAC Hall of Fame, the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame and the College Football Foundation Hall of Fame. In 2001, he also was one the 15 finalists for induction into the NFL Hall of Fame. Shell and his wife, Paulette Richardson Shell, have three children: April, Dawn, and Donnie. An avid golfer and reader, Shell and his family live in Rock Hill, SC.