On the day of its first round of the new season, the Kentucky men's golf program announced some heartbreaking news Sunday as sophomore Cullan Brown is withdrawing from school after being diagnosed with bone cancer.
Brown, an Eddyville, Ky., native who was named to the All-SEC freshman team last season, will undergo chemotherapy and surgery after doctors discovered osteosarcoma in his left thigh.
"My family and I are immensely appreciative of the outpouring of kind words, well-wishes, love and prayers we have received in the last few weeks from family, friends and the Big Blue Nation," Brown said in a statement. "It certainly will be a tough year, but nothing that can't be handled thanks to the amazing support group I have behind me at all times.
"Even though I will not be with my team in person this year, I will be there in spirit every time they compete, which I have full faith they will continue to do with the upmost integrity, passion and excellence."
Brown played eight events as a freshman, posting a 72.42 scoring average and four top-20s, including a T-9 at the SEC Championship. He also played in the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship this summer, making the cut and tying for 53 rd .
The Wildcats are sporting clothing and hats with the hashtag #B4B on them at the Island Resort Intercollegiate in Harris, Mich., and will continue to do so all season. The hashtag stands for "Birdies for Brownie," which references Brown's nickname.
"Our hearts are hurting for Cullan and his family," Kentucky head coach Brian Craig said. "I honestly do not believe God has ever created a young man as unique and special as Cullan. His love for people and his giftedness are extraordinary. We, as a team, could not love him any more than we do, and we will stand with him through this challenge with fervent loyalty, support and prayer.
"Cullan has always been full of faith and hope and enthusiasm with everything in his life. He and God are going to whip this thing over the next year and it is going to be one sweet victory. I also know God will ultimately use this in Cullan's life to bless other people who are facing difficult challenges. What a story of faith, hope and courage he is going to have to help lift up other people and I can't wait until that day comes."