John Schlarman’s return to Kentucky

John and Lee Ann Schlarman, with sons Matthew, 1, Joseph, 6, and Benjamin, 3.                              (Troy Athletics photo

The two happiest people in Lexington this morning might be Joe and Caroline Federspiel.

With Neal Brown accepting the job as offensive coordinator at Kentucky, the Federspiels’ daughter and grandchildren are coming home.

In addition to Brown, Kentucky is expected to hire former UK offensive lineman John Schlarman as offensive line coach, and Schlarman happens to be married to Lee Ann Federspiel. Together the two are proud parents of three boys, Joseph Douglas (6), Benjamin James (3) and Matthew Thomas (1).

Lee Ann Federspiel is the daughter of Joe Federspiel, the former All-SEC linebacker at Kentucky from 1969-71 who, after a playing career with the New Orleans Saints and a stint as an SEC official, lives in Lexington.

UK family ties are not the reason Brown is bringing Schlarman back to Lexington, however. For the past five years, Schlarman has beeen the offensive line coach at Troy University, where running a variation of the Air Raid offense, the Trojans have fielded one of the nation’s most productive offenses.

A star at Ft. Thomas Highlands, Schlarman played for both Bill Curry and Hal Mumme at Kentucky from 1994 to 1997. He was freshman All-SEC in 1994 and earned first-team All-SEC honors at UK his senior season.

Graduating with a degree in mathematics education, Schlarman was a finalist for Academic All-American in 1997. While earning a graduate degree in Kinesiology and Health Development, Schlarman was a grad assistant for Mumme and then Guy Morriss from 2000 to 2002.

He was an assistant coach at Bourbon County High School in 1998 and 1999 and was head coach at Campbell County and later Newport High School.

Former UK offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, then offensive coordinator at Troy, hired Schlarman to be Troy’s offensive line coach in 2007. He has remained there the past five years, the last two with the added title of run-game coordinator. In 2009, Troy’s offense ranked third in the nation in yards per game.

Neal Brown was already on the Troy staff, having been hired in 2006. Franklin departed for a brief and ill-fated stint at Auburn in 2008. Brown left to become Texas Tech’s offensive coordinator in 2010. But Schlarman remained.

This past season, Troy ranked 13th nationally in total offense, averaging 498.75 yards a game. The Trojans were 57th in rush offense, averaging 167.25 yards a game. They were eighth nationally in pass offense, averaging 331.5 yards a game.

Brown’s Texas Tech Red Raiders were second nationally in pass offense, averaging 361.9 yards per game.

Troy went 5-7 this season but suffered some tough losses — 30-24 to Mississippi State, 31-26 to Western Kentucky, 55-48 to Tennessee, 41-34 to Arkansas State and 24-21 to Middle Tennessee. In the loss at Tennessee, Troy gained 721 total yards, the most yardage ever gained on a Tennessee defense.

There had been talk that Kentucky O-line coach Mike Summers had a good chance of remaining on staff when the new coach arrived at UK. But Schlarman is more familiar with Brown’s offense and its teaching techniques.

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