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ESPN: “The Kentucky football coach and player who fought cancer together”

Hop in. We’re going to take a ride over to ESPN.com real quick because there’s a great story in its college football department.

Alex Scarborough, a college football writer there, traveled to Lexington last fall to profile receiver-turned-quarterback Lynn Bowden while Bowden was running all over opposing defenses. However, as Scarborough notes on Twitter, he found himself absorbed in another story within UK’s football program: the bond between a coach and player, both battling cancer while giving their all to keep the Wildcats moving forward in college football.

It’s the story of how star linebacker Josh Paschal and former player/current offensive line coach John Schlarman each found out they had cancer, within days of each other, right before Kentucky began its fall football camp in 2018. The two have been an inspiration to everyone around them on the field, on the sideline, in the locker room and in the stands.

Vince Marrow called Schlarman his “hero” for how he hasn’t missed a beat in his coaching duties while fighting cancer on the side:

“I thought I’d been around some people,” said fellow assistant coach Vince Marrow. “But John Schlarman is the strongest man I’ve ever been around in my life. You talk about dude being in two-a-day practice, go get chemo, come back and then have another full practice and you’d never even know it? Nah, man.”

He later added, “John Schlarman is my hero.”

Mark Stoops called Paschal “remarkable” in how he handled the hand he was dealt while chasing his football dreams as a young college student, although Paschal admits it wasn’t all positivity on the inside. He credits Coach Schlarman with helping him beat his cancer:

“I asked him every day, ‘How are you doing?’ and it’s not a routine just ‘How are you doing?’ greeting. It was more like, ‘Be honest with me: How are you doing? Are you struggling with anything?’ And he’d ask me the same thing.”

They found themselves comparing notes and having genuine conversations. Paschal remembers Schlarman telling him early on, “If there’s two people on the team who can handle it, it’s us.”

Read more in our Link of the Day right here.

Article written by Drew Franklin

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

3 Comments for ESPN: “The Kentucky football coach and player who fought cancer together”



  1. bbn606
    11:29 am May 25, 2020 Permalink

    Praying that both completely beat their cancer.



  2. marcusfurn
    2:11 pm May 25, 2020 Permalink

    Great article, thank you for posting!



  3. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door
    3:45 pm May 25, 2020 Permalink

    Whatever is going on with Chris Oats, I hope they can be an inspiration to him. I can’t imagine they haven’t tried to talk to him by phone or video if he is able to communicate.