The Man

Donnie Shell grew up by humble means in the small town of Whitmire, South Carolina. He attended Whitmire High School and excelled as a four sport athlete.   During his senior football season as team captain and starting linebacker, Shell led a defense that didn’t allow a single touchdown by the opposing team offense.

Upon graduating high school, Shell attended South Carolina State University on a football and baseball scholarship.  Shell graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education with a minor in biology, Donnie went on to earn his Master's Degree in Counseling Education in 1977.

Upon retiring for the NFL, Shell became the Director of Player Development for the Carolina Panthers.  From 1994 to 2009, Shell coordinated all of the Panthers player programs including financial education, family assistance, career internships, and continuing education.  All of the programs were 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 as well as “Most Outstanding Player Programs” honors in 2000.  In 2002, the NFL Player Development Department create the Winston/Shell Award to honor Shell for being one of the pioneers in player development.

Upon retiring from his second NFL career, Shell became the Director of the Spiritual Life Center for Johnson C. Smith University.  From 2010 to 2015, Shell’s main focus was to create programs that inspired change while enriching the religious, spiritual, and intellectual lives of the students at JCSU.  Some highlights of his successful programs were student bible studies, creation of the “Care Closet’ which assist students’ hygiene needs, and the annual Ecumenical Prayer Breakfast Fellowship.

Now officially retired, Shell continues to pave the way to help others in need.  He and his wife Paulette are active in a variety of civic and cultural organizations including The Mel Blount Youth, John Stallworth Scholarship Foundation and the Presidential Promise Scholarship Program at South Carolina State University.  In 2015, Shell was selected to serve on the Board of Trustees for South Carolina State University.  To aid in helping his alma mater grow, Shell established the Donnie Shell Scholarship Foundation to assist college students in need of financial assistance.

Outside of professional interests, Shell is an avid reader, writer, and enjoys golf.  He currently resides in Rock Hill, South Carolina with wife Paulette and their two dogs.