Thell, a legendary coach for 42 years (U. S. Navy, Warrenton High School, Wallace High School and Wallace Rose Hill High School) attended Brogden High School and graduated from Guilford College in 1938.
His overall high school coaching record in football, basketball and baseball was 1078-233-6, including numerous conference championships. Those stats break down accordingly…Football 278-73-6, Basketball 259-42 and Baseball 541-118.
Wray Carlton, record-breaking back at Duke University, who also starred with the Buffalo Bills and Jimmy Jerome, a UNC standout under Coach Bill Dooley are two of the many Overman coached athletes who received college athletic scholarships.
Thell was recognized by the NCHSAA as one of the top 50 contributors to high school sports in the state and the award for outstanding service in the N. C. High School Athletic Director Association as well as inducted into their Hall of Fame. He was selected to coach in both the East-West All-Star Game (1957) and Shrine Bowl (1958). He received the Good Neighbors award from Duplin County Council for efforts beyond the ordinary in improving inter-racial understanding. Thell was inducted into the Guilford College Sports Hall of Fame and lettered in basketball (4 times including captain 1 year), football twice and track twice. Thell is also in the North Carolina High School Athletic Directors Hall of Fame and the Duplin County Hall of Fame for overall contribution to the community.
He served on the NCHSAA Board during the 1950s and 1960s and worked to expand and improve the organization. He also served as president of the N. C. Coaches Association, chaired the committee that formed the NCHSAA High School Athletic Directors Association, served 10 years as chairman of the District II State boys basketball tournament and served 6 years as chairman of the District II State girls basketball tournament.
Thell designed and helped build the American Legion Stadium in 1950. The field is named in his honor. Thell Overman Field. He started the Summer Recreation Program in Wallace and directed the program for more than 15 years. He was a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and transportation for the elderly and donated more than 60 books in history to the Bryant Library in Wallace.
He was married to Marjorie (deceased), has two daughters, Etta (deceased) and Ann and is a longtime member of the Wallace United Methodist Church.