The retired NFL great and 1974 S.C. State graduate annually sponsors the Donnie Shell Invitational Golf Tournament to support the Donnie Shell Scholarship Foundation, which provides scholarships to S.C. State students who cannot afford to pay for their college tuition.
Each year the tournament brings together a collection of football greats for two days of events. Previous celebrities have included some of the most decorated college and NFL players: 30 Super Bowl rings and 10 college/NFL Hall of Fame players.
As listed at donnieshell.com, this year’s players invited to participate include the following: Barney Chavous, Dwayne Harper, Richard Shelton, John Stallworth, Jack Deloplaine, Mel Blount, Mike Wagner, Perry Tuttle, Cliff Stoudt, Yancey Thigpen, John Banaszak, Dick Conn, Jerome Bettis, Kordell Stewart, Reggie Garrett, Robin Cole, Nate Salley, Terry Kinard, Barney Bussey, Rocky Bleier, Frank Lewis and Greg Lloyd.
“Please join me and the greatest single gathering of NFL Hall of Famers, Super Bowl champions and college legends that Augusta has ever seen,” Shell says in a video invitation.
The tournament will be played April 28-29 at the Champion’s Retreat Golf Course in Augusta, Georgia. Champions is a private 27-hole golf club featuring three individually designed courses by Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus and the late Arnold Palmer. The recent inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur tournament began play at Champion’s Retreat during early-round competition.
Festivities begin with the Celebrity Pairing Dinner on the evening of April 28, when tournament participants get an opportunity to mingle with celebrities and participate in a silent auction.
The Donnie Shell Invitational Golf Tournament will take place on Monday morning, followed immediately by an awards luncheon. The luncheon is open to registered guests, sponsor representatives and celebrities only.
Now officially retired, Shell 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 S.C. State.
In 2015, Shell was selected to serve on the board of directors for S.C. State, where he starred in football. He is a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame, the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame and the College Football Foundation Hall of Fame.
Shell joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1974 as an undrafted free agent. As a member of the famed “Steel Curtain” defense, Shell helped lead the way to shutting down NFL offenses in the late 1970s. He won four Super Bowls and was selected to represent the AFC in the Pro Bowl five consecutive times.
Upon his retirement, Shell was the NFL’s career leader in interceptions by a strong safety with 51. He started 11 straight years of his 14-year NFL career for the Steelers.