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Thursday, November 12, 2020

UK and and Fort Thomas Community Mourn Death of John Schlarman

UK offensive line coach and Highlands Athletics Hall of Famer John Schlarman, holds up a game ball following a 27-16 win over Florida in 2018. (photo: University of Kentucky media relations)

by Robin Gee

After a courageous and open battle against cancer, University of Kentucky (UK) Assistant Coach and Highland High Athletics Hall of Famer John Schlarman has died. 

RELATED: Former Highlands Standout, Kentucky Football Assistant John Schlarman in Cancer Battle

The Fort Thomas native and 1993 Highlands graduate will be remembered for his part in rebuilding the Wildcats’ football program and for his inspirational leadership even after his devastating diagnosis with cholangiocarcinoma in 2018. He joined UK Athletics in 2013 and became offensive line coach. He played a key role in the team’s four consecutive bowl appearances, including wins in 2018 over Penn State at the VRBO Citrus Bowl and again in 2019 over Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl.

He is remembered in Fort Thomas fondly as a local boy who went far in his distinguished career. Schlarman participated in both varsity track and field, and football in high school. He was a formidable offensive tackle and defensive lineman at Highlands and in 1992, was named Most Valuable Player as team captain of the AAA state championship team. He was named to the All-State team and was the first team lineman. 

John Schlarman was a standout in both track and field and football at Highlands High School. He was inducted into the Highlands Athletic Hall of Fame in 2019.

After graduation Schlarman earned a full athletic scholarship to play football at UK. Upon graduation from UK in 1998, he started his coaching career, first at the high school level, then moving to college football. In 2019 he was inducted into the Highlands High School Athletic Hall of Fame. 

He leaves behind his wife Lee Ann and their four children, Joe, Ben, Matt and Evelyn. He was 45. Information on a memorial service has not yet been published, but Fort Thomas Matters will share more information when it becomes available. 

RELATED: Class of 2019 Highlands Athletic Hall of Fame: John Schlarman

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