FAYETTEVILLE — On Thursday, Sam Pittman during his Zoom conference paid tribute to Kentucky offensive line coach John Schlarman who lost his battle with cancer earlier in the day at the age of 45.
Schlarman battled through his diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma, a rare cancer of the bile ducts, more than two years ago according to ESPN’s Alex Scarborough. Pittman addressed Schlarman’s death and if he knew him.
“And yes, I did know Coach there at Kentucky,” Pittman said. “I didn’t know him well. I had a lot of respect for him. Ironically, I just got a text I know from a guy that lives five doors down from Coach’s house. And they had spoke about me, which was amazing to me. The guy had asked me to maybe reach out to the family, and I sure as heck will do that.”
Pittman said while he didn’t know him the things his players said about him spoke very loudly.
“I just know this, that if you listen to what his kids said about him, to me that’s how you rate a coach,” Pittman said. “I mean, how about the way all the kids talk about how he treated them and the way that he coached them.
“I listened to some of that. It was emotional, and I’m very saddened and I’m certainly praying for his family. I know one thing, he was a heck of a football coach. And from I understand he was a heck of a man.”
Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops addressed Schlarman’s death on the athletic website.
“I’m heartbroken to learn about the passing of my friend, John Schlarman,” said UK head coach Mark Stoops. “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.”
Kentucky director of athletics Mitch Barnhart also spoke about Schlarman.
“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.”