DALLAS (FWAA) The Kentucky Wildcats
football team is this week's nominee for the 2020 Capital
One Orange Bowl Courage Award. The Wildcats beat Vanderbilt,
38-35, on Saturday, just two days after offensive line coach John
Schlarman died after a two-year battle with cancer.
"The bottom line is to honor John by playing the way he coached,
lived his life, and we constantly talked about the tenacity that
he had, the toughness that he had, but also when he was a player
he was extremely technical and very detailed, Kentucky head coach
Mark Stoops said after the win.
Kentucky lined up for the first offensive play from scrimmage
without a player manning the left guard spot, which was Schlarman's
position during his playing days with the Wildcats from 1994-97.
Vanderbilt declined the delay of game penalty, and Landon Young
was sent on the field afterward to complete the Wildcats' offensive
line while wearing No. 65, which had been Schlarman's number.
Kentucky players wore JS on their helmets as well.
Schlarman was diagnosed with cholangiocarcinoma in the summer
of 2018. He coached throughout his treatments and did not miss a
game until Kentucky's previous two contests before Saturday. Stoops
gave Schlarman the game ball after an Oct. 17 win at Tennessee,
which was Schlarman's last game.
A four-year starter while with the Wildcats, Schlarman earned
first-team all-freshman honors from the SEC in 1994, was chosen
as the team's most outstanding offensive lineman in 1995 and 1996,
and was named All-SEC as a senior in 1997. He made the SEC Academic
Honor Roll three times and, in 1997, became a finalist for Academic
The Kentucky native got his college coaching start at his alma
mater as a graduate assistant from 2000-02, then returned when Stoops
got hired in 2013.
Schlarman was a nominee for the Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA
Courage Award in 2018.
On Saturday, Kentucky honored its beloved coach the best way
it knew how: by rushing for 308 yards on 35 carries in a winning
"We lost a member of our family. We lost our coach and someone
who was a father figure to every offensive lineman that's come through
this program," Young said after the game. "One of the toughest,
greatest men I've met in my life. Having the opportunity to wear
his number was a blessing for me."
The Courage Award was first presented by the Football Writers
Association of America (FWAA) in 2002. A select group of writers
from the FWAA vote on the winner each year. The requirements for
nomination include displaying courage on or off the field, including
overcoming an injury or physical handicap, preventing a disaster
or living through hardship. The winner of the award will be included
in festivities during Capital One Orange Bowl week and receive his
trophy at an on-field presentation.
Previous winners of the Capital One Orange Bowl-FWAA Courage
Award are Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson (2019), SUNY Cortland
linebacker Kyle Richard (2018), Wisconsin safety D'Cota Dixon (2017),
Pitt running back James Conner (2016), Miami offensive lineman Hunter
Knighton (2015), Duke offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson (2014),
San Jose State defensive lineman Anthony Larceval (2013), Clemson
wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez (2012), Michigan State offensive
lineman Arthur Ray Jr. (2011), Rutgers defensive tackle Eric LeGrand
(2010), the University of Connecticut football team (2009), Tulsa's
Wilson Holloway (2008), Navy's Zerbin Singleton (2007), Clemson's
Ray Ray McElrathbey (2006), the Tulane football team (2005), Memphis'
Haracio Colen (2004), San Jose State's Neil Parry (2003) and Toledo's
William Bratton (2002).
About the Orange Bowl
The Orange Bowl is
a 380-member, primarily-volunteer non-profit sports organization
that promotes and serves the South Florida community. With its primary
mission since being created in 1935 to bring tourism to South Florida
through an annual football game and events, it has also maintained
a legacy of charitable contributions and community outreach. Orange
Bowl community outreach efforts are comprised of four pillars: youth
sports, fundraising and community events, academic programs and
scholarships, and legacy gifts. The Orange Bowl features a year-round
schedule of events culminating with the Capital One Orange Bowl
on Jan. 2, 2021. The Orange Bowl also led a community-wide effort
to bring the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship
to South Florida. It will be played on Jan. 11, 2021 (2021miami.com).
For more information on the 2020-2021 Orange Bowl events, including
promotional and volunteer opportunities through the Ambassador Program
presented by Panera Bread, log on to
or follow @OrangeBowl on social media.
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of 1,200 men and women who cover college football.
The membership includes journalists, broadcasters and publicists, as well as key
executives in all the areas that involve the game. The FWAA works to govern areas
that include game-day operations, major awards and its annual All-America team.
For more information about the FWAA and its award programs, contact Steve Richardson
2020 Capital One Orange Bowl Courage Award Nominees
Oct. 28: Jon Dietzen, Wisconsin
Nov. 4: Alex Charlton, Midwestern State/Arkansas State
Nov. 11: D'Eriq King, Miami
Nov. 18: Kentucky Wildcats
One Orange Bowl Courage Award