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Claflin Alumni Joe and Shirley Canty Ready for a Super Sunday

Feb 09, 2012

 

Couple Anxious to Watch Son, Chris Canty of the NY Giants, Play in Super Bowl XLVI

 

Credit: Getty Images

New York Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty's number one goal in Super Bowl XLVI will be disrupting and hopefully sacking New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady this Sunday. And there will be two proud Claflinites cheering him on – his parents, Joe, '73, and Shirley, '72.

Needless to say, both are on cloud nine.

“I'm going to jump six or seven feet high and put my hands in the air and say life is good,” Shirley says of the coming experience.

“It's a feeling of adulation and excitement that we look forward to,” said Joe. “We are just hopeful the Giants can come out victorious.”

Joe and Shirley are both in Indianapolis this weekend anxiously waiting to watch their son play under the lights at Lucas Oil Stadium in the biggest of games. While they are obviously proud of Chris' achievements on the gridiron, they are equally proud of his work off of it.

The son has carried on the family tradition of being a positive force for children. Chris founded the Chris Canty Foundation, which uses sports to impact the lives of youth through mentorship, educational program and physical activity.

Joe notes that a Super Bowl ring would put an emphatic stamp on Chris' legacy in the NFL. But the construction business owner from Charlotte says the legacy of his son's foundation will carry on much longer.

“Both football and his charity work go hand-in-hand. In a sense, Chris has been able to do his philanthropic ventures because of football,” Joe said.

In 2010, Chris was the Giant's Walter L. Payton Man of the Year. He received the United Way Man of the Year award in 2009.

Chris was honored by the University last April at the Corporate, Community and Friends Breakfast in Charlotte for his commitment to community service. Shirley noted that commitment for her was strengthen during her time as a Claflin student.

“Claflin was excellent. It taught me discipline, the importance of community service and being people orientated. When Chris came along, I passed those skills onto him,” said Shirley, a second generation Claflin graduate.

She is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church who worked as counselor for at-risk youth. They lived in New York for many years where Joe worked as a regional health care administrator. The couple moved to Charlotte in 1992 when Joe was asked by then North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt to run the Support Our Schools program, which seeks to strengthen public schools through establishing community partnerships.

Joe recalls understanding the importance of professionalism at the University. “I told Chris if you're going to be involved in something, you have to work hard to achieve something,” he said.

Chris has taken that advice to heart. This season, he registered the best performance of his seven-year career with 47 tackles and four sacks. And the hard work has definitely paid for him. He signed a six-year, $42 million contract with the Giants in 2010 after spending his first four years in the league with the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cantys are quite the athletes themselves. Shirley played intramural softball and basketball at Claflin. Joe was inducted this past year into the University's Athletic Hall of Fame for men's basketball. He fondly recalled Claflin as “a wonderful place to be” during his time as a student.

“That place had a tremendous impact on our lives. It allowed us to identify ourselves as human beings and make a contribution to society. You can't replace that home feeling that you have at Claflin University,” said Joe.

As for the Super Bowl, Joe offers a prediction that the Giants will defeat the Patriots 28-17. Shirley, however, doesn't want to jinx anything and has no prediction for the game.

“I'll just support the Giants as one of their greatest cheerleaders,” she said.

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