The “Hometown Hall of Famers™” program traveled to North Charleston, S.C. on Friday as the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Allstate Insurance Company honored Oakland Raiders
legend Art Shell
with a plaque dedication ceremony at North Charleston High School. The ceremony for the Hall of Fame tackle was witnessed by the school’s senior class along with Shell’s family, friends and former classmates and teammates.
While Shell’s alma mater Bonds-Wilson High School is now closed, he chose to have the plaque permanently on display at North Charleston High School, where he said the spirit of Bonds-Wilson lives today.
Shell spoke to the audience about his connection to the Charleston community, saying, “The spirit of the Cobras is still alive today here at North Charleston High School. When I’m up here, you’re up here – I am you.” He went on to encourage students to set ambitious goals and complete their education to ensure their future success.
Eugene Graves, Shell’s former high school football and basketball coach, presented Shell with his plaque. Additional event speakers included North Charleston High School’s former basketball coach Tony Eady, who served as event emcee; Kevin Shealy, Allstate representative; Brock Richards, program director for Pro Football Hall of Fame Enterprises; and Robert Grimm, principal of North Charleston High School.
“Art Shell is a living example of what can be accomplished through hard work and dedication,” said Richards. “With this plaque, North Charleston High School is now an extension of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
After excelling as a student-athlete in high school, Shell went on to play football at Maryland State College (now known as University of Maryland Eastern Shore), where his efforts on the field earned him the chance to be drafted. The Oakland Raiders picked him in the third round of the 1968 draft.
Shell played in 207 regular season games and 23 postseason contests during his 15-year career as the dominant left tackle on the Raiders vaunted offensive line. He was an integral member of Raiders teams that won two Super Bowls. Shell was named to eight Pro Bowls, selected first-team All-Pro four times and All-AFC six times. A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 1970s, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989.
Also in 1989, Shell became the first African American head coach in the NFL's modern-era when he was hired as the coach of the Los Angeles Raiders.
“To be a part of a program that brings the prestige and tradition of the Pro Football Hall of Fame to cities like North Charleston is an honor for Allstate, our agents and employees,” said Lisa Cochrane, Allstate’s senior vice president of marketing.