By LARRY VAUGHT
It wasn’t quite a year ago when news broke that Kentucky offensive line coach John Schlarman had been diagnosed with cancer and that sophomore defensive standout Josh Paschal had skin cancer.
“The weird thing about it is that cliche ‘bad things happen to good people’ and you could not have picked the best staff member and best player on team and they both get cancer. I was like, ‘God is definitely trying to do something here.’ What it did was make everybody come together and rally to those two guys,” Kentucky recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow said.
Marrow wasn’t sure Schlarman could coach daily and fight the cancer battle.
“I am with coach Schlarman every day and I wondered how does he do this. Go to chemo and then come here and coach. It really changed me. You are never too old or too good to learn. I would look at him every day in meetings. He would catch me staring at him but I was staring at him like, ‘Wow, this dude is amazing,’” Marrow said.
“John Schlarman is probably one of the top five people that I have met anywhere. It bothered me at first seeing that happen to him but how he dealt with that and his wife did … How can you be a lineman and have a coach doing that and then say you get tired. When I talked to the tight ends I would say, ‘He is doing eight hours of chemo and coming here. We can’t be tired.’”
Schlarman, a former UK lineman, admits it has been a “heck of a ride” with plenty of highs and lows the last 12 months.
“Obviously being a part of one of the best seasons ever in this program was a tremendous high for a Kentucky boy like me. But having to deal with that health-wise was one of the most devastating things I probably have ever faced in terms of the early prognosis. The outlook was not very good,” he said. “I was fortunate I reacted to the medicine like I have. I haven’t experienced just a ton of fatigue or throwing up or whatever.
“I have been very fortunate I have responded the way I have. Things have gone in a good direction and hopefully they continue to do that now that we are a year out (from the diagnosis). I feel a lot better now than I did a year ago.”