The Kentucky Wildcats are coming off a program-shifting win over Florida, and a big reason for that is offensive line coach John Schlarman, who has been named a nominee for the 2018 Orange Bowl Courage Award. This is annually given to a college player, coach or support person who displays courage on or off the field.
Schlarman, a UK alum in his sixth season with the Wildcats as an assistant coach, has remained on the sideline and practice field daily despite battling cancer that requires long sessions of chemotherapy.
The former UK lineman was given a game ball after the Wildcats’ 27-16 win at Florida, which came in large part due to the offensive line paving the way for 303 rushing yards.
“It was a special moment,” head coach Mark Stoops said in a press release. “With what John is going through, the way he’s handling this, the way he’s handling the adversity in his life is something that we all respect and for his players to perform the way they did, and the way they care about him says a lot. I thought it was fitting to recognize John and all of our players really felt good about doing that. John is a special guy, very talented and is also a great example of how you handle the diversity in your life.”
The requirements for nomination for the weekly award include displaying some sort of courageous act, on or off the field including, overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster and living through a lifetime of hardships.
Needless to say, you won’t find a better example of that than Schlarman.
“We all know John is exceptional,” Stoops said. “I think (the players) can certainly be inspired by the way John is handling this and the way he is going about his business. How can you be a player out there feeling sorry for yourself when you have a man that’s just gone through five, six hours of chemo and is sitting out there on the practice field coaching the same way he does every day? That’s pretty inspirational.”