A kid gets certain perks when his father is a football coach, and when John Cantey was a tyke, he got to sit with a high school All-American while riding on the Bishop England team bus.
When that young man decides to follow in his legendary father's footsteps, perks turn into pressure.
John Cantey had some big shoes to fill at Bishop England. Jack Cantey coached for a half a century at various schools, was inducted into the South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame, and the football stadium at Bishop England is named in his honor.
It might be affectionately known as "The House that Jack Built," but the younger Cantey has built on that foundation and added to the tradition.
The 37-year-old Cantey, in his fourth year as the head coach of Bishop England, has led the Battling Bishops to a 12-1 record and a berth in the Division II-AA state championship game Friday against Central.
It will be the Bishops' first appearance in the title game since 1976, when Jack
Cantey was coach and his 2-year-old son got to ride the team bus.
"I can still remember him sitting on Derek Hughes' lap," Jack Cantey said. "Not too may kids could say they sat on an (Parade) All-American's lap."
"I don't remember much from that year, but dad tells the stories," said John Cantey, whose team plays Central at 5:30 p.m. Friday at Charlie W. Johnson Stadium on the campus of Benedict College in Columbia.
That included a three-year stint from 1989-91 when he played quarterback for his father. What John Cantey remembers most from those days aren't the wins and losses, but the trials and tribulations of not having a football stadium. The Bishop England campus was on Calhoun Street in Charleston until the 1998-99 academic year when it opened at a new site on Daniel Island. Prior to that, Bishop England would practice on any green space it could find and played its home games at Stoney Field, Ravenel Stadium, Porter-Gaud and even at archrival Hanahan.
"That was my most awesome experience -- to get to play for my dad," John Cantey said. "Hurricane Hugo hit in 1989 and it shook up the season. But Dad kept everything together. We would do whatever it took, go wherever we had to go."
The elder Cantey was head coach at Bishop England from 1964-93 and compiled a 184-132-7 record before retiring. He led the Bishops to numerous region championships, including one in 1988. It was the last region title until the Bishops won the 7-AA crown this fall. This season also marked the first double-digit victory total since 1976.
Jack Cantey was a volunteer assistant for Bishop England when his son was named head coach for the 2008 season. He didn't offer any advice but was full of expertise.
"I knew he had to do things his way, and it's obvious that he's done it the right way because of the success he's had," Jack Cantey said. "I didn't say, 'Do this. Don't do that' because everyone has their own style. I didn't stick my nose in his business."
Similarities in style
Mike Bolchoz is in his first year as principal at Bishop England. He played for Jack Cantey from 1979-82 and sees similarities in the two.
"They are both even-keeled," Bolchoz said. "They are not going to have extreme highs or lows and that's good if you are a player or coach because you know what to expect and what is expected out of you.
"I thought playing for coach Cantey was an outstanding experience," Bolchoz said. "I went on to play college football, but my fondest memories are of high school football. He instilled discipline."
At the end of last season, Jack Cantey decided to step down as a volunteer assistant.
"Oh, sure, there are times I wanted to be on the sideline this season," said the 76-year-old Cantey. "But now I get to sit in the stands with my wife Rosemary, and we get to watch and talk football. Over the years, she's really learned the game."
And of its greatness, which includes her husband and son.
Follow Phil Bowman on Twitter: @pandcphil