Kentucky assistant coach John Schlarman, 45, dies of cancer

Oct 21, 2017; Starkville, MS, USA; A view of a Kentucky Wildcats helmet during the first half against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Davis Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky assistant coach John Schlarman died Thursday following a two-year battle with cancer, the school announced. He was 45.

“I’m heartbroken to learn about the passing of my friend, John Schlarman,” UK head coach Mark Stoops said in a statement. “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, the team’s offensive line coach and an original member of Stoops’ staff in 2013, was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma, a rare cancer of the bile ducts, in the summer of 2018.

He rarely missed a practice and didn’t miss a game until the past two.

“The UK Athletics family is in deep sorrow on the passing of John Schlarman,” Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart said. “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.”

Schlarman was a four-year starter on the offensive line at Kentucky from 1994-97, earning first-team All-SEC honors as a senior.

(Field Level Media)