Posted: 8:16 am Saturday, March 28th, 2009

Don Thompson among C.W. Pell’s biggest fans 

By Jason Lieser

Pahokee’s Don Thompson is thrilled to see fellow former Blue Devils coach C.W. Pell heading into the Palm Beach County Hall of Fame this weekend along with nine other honorees.

Thompson said it felt strange when he was inducted last year, ahead of his former coach.


“I felt a bit guilty,” Thompson admitted. “He definitely should have gone in before me. He was certainly a figure who directed many young men’s lives in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s.

“My heart is extremely excited that the Hall of Fame selected him this year. It’s an honor he deserves more than myself.”

Pell coached the Blue Devils from 1952 through ’68 and went 88-68-9. He had such a meaningful effect on Thompson, who was an all-state middle linebacker for him, that Thompson named his oldest son Pell.

C.W. Pell was a mentor to Thompson, who needed a stable figure in his life at the time.

“He was the person who introduced me to football,” Thompson said.

“He helped me along the way out of some real difficult times in my life. I loved and respected him. He had a wonderful family, which I’ve certainly tried to model.”

Pell is now 90 years old and lives in Okeechobee, but he still follows the program he helped build and attended a few Blue Devils games last season.

His wife Jane said they expect at least a dozen guests, including Thompson, at Sunday’s ceremony.

“He hasn’t coached in a long time, but it’s nice for him to be recognized,” Jane Pell said. “It was a great time. It was a big part of our life.”

Other inductees include pro golfer Mark Calcavecchia, Florida Atlantic coach Howard Schnellenberger, sportswriters Ray Boetel and Tom D’Angelo, Jupiter football coach Charlie Persson, and former local stars Darryl and Joey Ceravolo, Bill Davis and Jack Rhine.

This is the 33rd annual induction ceremony, which will be held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center on Sunday. This class was voted in by current hall of famers and the hall of fame committee.