|Photo by UK Athletics.|
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A petition is circulating around the Commonwealth to immortalize former Highlands and Kentucky football standout, John Schlarman, by naming a part of the stadium after him.
Schlarman, a Highlands High School alumni, passed away back on Nov. 12, 2020 after a long battle with cancer.
The former UK coach was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma back in the summer of 2018, but continued to coach through treatments and the ensuing side effects, failing to miss a game until Oct. 24, 2020 at Missouri. His final in-person coaching appearance came on Oct. 17 at Tennessee in Kentucky’s first win in Knoxville since 1984.
Joining Mark Stoops’ staff in Lexington back in 2013, Schlarman built Kentucky’s “Big Blue Wall,” an offensive line unit that helped shatter numerous school records including single-season records for most rushing yards, most rushing touchdowns and most rushing yards per attempt.
As a team, Schlarman helped Kentucky earn four consecutive bowl appearances from 2016-19, including a fifth if/when the Wildcats accept a bowl bid this season.
Kentucky Sports Radio's Nick Roush wrote this:
New offensive line coach Eric Wolford vowed to let John Schlarman’s legacy live forever in the UK offensive line meeting room. One fan wants to set Schlarman’s legacy in stone for the Big Blue Nation to see every Saturday at Kroger Field.
John Harralson formed a petition at Change.org, imploring officials at UK Athletics to honor the former Wildcat and late offensive line coach by naming the concrete wall that encircles the Kroger Field Turf, “The John Schlarman Big Blue Wall.”
Within two hours of its creation, the petition received more than 150 signatures and counting. As of Friday at 1:30 p.m., it has 3,275 signatures.
An All-SEC performer for the Wildcats in the 90s, Schlarman helped create a blue collar culture with Mark Stoops at Kentucky. The gritty offensive line coach made it cool to be a “Big Ugly,” transforming the Big Blue Wall into a perennial power in the SEC. There are a myriad of ways to salute Schlarman, but I can’t think of a better one than by making his Big Blue Wall a permanent fixture at Kroger Field.