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Coach Schlarman gave a pregame speech and then got the game ball in Knoxville

John Schlarman is still fighting for his life against cancer, yet still showing up to work everyday for his life as UK’s offensive line coach. Weak and down 60 pounds since his diagnosis, Schlarman keeps coaching up the Big Blue Wall, and was in the booth on Saturday for the Wildcats’ first win in Neyland Stadium since 1984.

Before the game, Schlarman addressed the entire team with a pregame speech.

“It is getting more difficult for him, and he did talk to the team this morning,” Mark Stoops explained in his postgame press conference. “I haven’t asked him to do that too much, but I really wanted to and it was genuine and it was from the heart and everybody in that room was attentive to John. He obviously motivates them better than me, and how can he not?”

After the game, Stoops and the team met Schlarman back in the locker room to present him with the game ball.

“He’s been around here a long time,” Stoops said. “He’s been a Wildcat for a long time, so he deserved that game ball.”

The game ball is Schlarman’s second. His other came from Kentucky’s win in Gainesville, another streak-snapper.


For more on Schlarman’s story, I’ll redirect you to Kyle Tucker’s piece, “The great fight inside John Schlarman, Kentucky football’s ‘total badass’,” if you haven’t read it already. Mark Stoops read it on the way to Tennessee and thanked Kyle for writing it after the game.

“I really appreciated your article,” Stoops told Tucker. “I read it on the bus on the way down. Brad White was sitting next to me and I had to put that thing down two or three times, I was absolutely bawling because it was well written and kind of spoke to some of the things, just scratching the surface of some of the things John is going through.”


Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

2 Comments for Coach Schlarman gave a pregame speech and then got the game ball in Knoxville

  1. bbn606
    4:24 pm October 17, 2020 Permalink

    Coach Schlarman is the greatest!

  2. jaws2
    12:06 pm October 18, 2020 Permalink

    I know I’m just an old sap, but damn that moment with Schlarman teared me up. God Bless him.