Just two days after Kentucky offensive line coach John Schlarman passed away following a two-year bout with cancer, the Wildcats found a creative and touching way to honor his memory.
In Saturday's 38-35 win over Vanderbilt, Kentucky took the field for the first play of the game with just 10 players, leaving the left guard spot open. The offense took the delay of game penalty (which Vanderbilt promptly declined), and senior offensive lineman Landon Young came onto the field wearing jersey No. 65. Young usually wears No. 67, but changed to honor Schlarman, who wore No. 65 during his playing days at Kentucky.
Schlarman played for the Wildcats in the 1990s, earning SEC All-Freshman honors in his first year and a first-team All-SEC selection as a senior. He joined Kentucky's staff in 2013 and was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma in the summer of 2018. He did not miss a game until Kentucky's two most recent games while receiving treatment for the disease. He was 45 years old at the time of his passing.
"I'm heartbroken to learn about the passing of my friend," Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said in a statement after Schlarman's passing. "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."