“I’m heartbroken to learn about the passing of my friend, John Schlarman,” said UK head coach Mark Stoops in a press release. “My prayers go out to LeeAnne and the kids, Joseph, Benjamin, Matthew and Evelyn, through this very difficult time.
“John was everything we all strive to be – honest, tough, fair, respected. Kentucky football won’t be the same without him but his legacy will never fade. He was a fighter and we will strive every day to honor his warrior spirit.”
Schlarman was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma in the summer of 2018, though he continued to coach while underdoing treatment and didn’t miss a game until Kentucky’s two recent games vs. Missouri and Georgia. His final appearance on the sidelines was October 17 at Tennessee, when Stoops awarded Schlarman the game ball following the Wildcats’ win in Knoxville for the first time since 1984.
Over the past few months, we asked members of our @UKFootball family what @CoachSchlarman means to them.— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) November 12, 2020
An incredible person who's impact reaches throughout our community, and who will always hold a special place in our hearts #SchlarmanStrong pic.twitter.com/4eUU8oIUi8
“The UK Athletics family is in deep sorrow on the passing of John Schlarman,” said Mitch Barnhart, UK Director of Athletics. “Throughout the last two years, he has been an incredible inspiration. He taught people how to live and showed all of us what it means to be courageous.
“John was a great husband and father, teacher and leader. He will be remembered for the love he had for his family, his dedication to his players and his excellence as a coach. Our prayers and heartfelt condolences are with his family and all who knew and loved him.”
Schlarman was an original member of Stoops’ staff in 2013 and slowly helped bring this program up from back-to-back 2-10 seasons to four straight bowl berths from 2016-19, including a 10-win 2018 season. His offensive lines have been one of the biggest reasons this program has reached heights not seen in decades.
But more importantly, Schlarman was a tremendous human being that will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.