The Legacy of Charley Pell is a 17 minute documentary on the life of Coach Pell,
his struggle with depression and his recovery from a mental illness. You may view
or download the presentation by clicking on the links below. If you would
like a free copy on DVD, please call the Office of Public Information & Community Relations at 334-242-3417.
Coach Charley Pell led teams from three different universities to conference and/or
national championships. He was selected Coach of the Year numerous times, yet after
his coaching career ended he began to experience symptoms of depression that had been
masked since his teens by the fervor and excitement of athletic life. This depression
became so severe that he meticulously planned his suicide for over a year. Fortunately,
he failed in his attempt and in his recovery became a spokesperson for persons with a mental illness.
His wife Ward Pell narrates the dramatic story which includes footage of interviews by Stone Phillips of
Dateline NBC and Oprah Winfrey of the Oprah Winfrey Show. Essentially, the film teaches
that mental illness is not a sign of weakness…but a biological brain disease that is
treatable and manageable. It is an illness that has a greater success rate of recovery than
all other major illness combined.
It is most relevant for high school, college students and adult audiences.