In the late 1970s and 1980s, Joy McCann Culverhouse was often seen on the sidelines of Tampa Bay Buccaneers games, cheering on the upstart team.
Not only because she and her husband, Hugh Culverhouse Sr., owned the team and were the people who brought the NFL to Tampa. And not only because McCann Culverhouse also brought creamsicle orange to pro sports, helping to pick the Bucs uniform colors.
Her visible and vocal support goes back to her longtime passion for sports. McCann Culverhouse was a champion golfer, and one the first women granted a partial sports scholarship — playing on the men's golf team at Louisiana State University. She won the women's state golf championship of Alabama in 1941 and 1947 and won the 1961 Florida Women's Amateur Title.
Also a top area philanthropist, McCann Culverhouse died of pneumonia April 26 at a Tampa hospice. She was 96.
McCann Culverhouse has “been described as tiny as a tack and sharp as a whip,” states her obituary, and was known for her endless energy. “Mrs. C. was a force of nature and a treasure to us all,” says Scott Lynch, a longtime employee of both Hugh Culverhouse Sr. and McCann Culverhouse, in a statement.
McCann Culverhouse donated more than $30 million to USF, among many other causes, says USF Foundation CEO Joel Momberg. “She was willing to commit a large amount of money to make things happen,” says Momberg. “She was a very loyal person to the causes she supported. She's been good to a lot of organizations around the community.”
Hugh Culverhouse died in 1994, and McCann Culverhouse continued with philanthropic causes for the next two decades. (The family sold the Bucs to the Glazer family in 1995.) In addition to USF, organizations she supported include the Boys & Girls Club of Tampa, the Tampa YMCA and the Joy McCann Culverhouse Center for Swallowing Disorders at the Morsani Center for Advanced Health Care at USF.
Survivors include a daughter, Dr. Gay Culverhouse and a son, Hugh Culverhouse Jr. Her family plans a private service to honor her life. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to LifePath Hospice.