UK mourns tragic death of young golfer


LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — The Kentucky men’s golf team is mourning the loss of one of their top players.

Cullan Brown died Tuesday from Osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.

“Our hearts are simply devastated over the loss of our brother Cullan,” Kentucky men’s golf coach Brian Craig said. “I have personally never known a more special or amazing young man. He was simply the most gifted person I have ever coached. He could literally do anything with excellence, but his greatest gift was the way he loved the Lord and loved people. That is a tremendous legacy to leave behind and one that will last forever within our UK golf family.

“I ask for special prayers for Cullan’s wonderful family. Rodney, Emily and his younger sister, Cathryn, have all been so faithful and supportive of Cullan over this past year. I have witnessed firsthand what unconditional love looks like. It looks like the Brown family. They have inspired all of us during this battle and I stand in awe of them as a family of believers.”

Kentucky athletics director Mitch Barnhart said Brown’s death is a “painful moment for the UK athletic family.”

“Our university and our state have lost a truly special person in Cullan Brown,” he said. “The impact he made on so many in his short time as a Wildcat is immeasurable, whether it was through his heart as a competitor or his simple goodness as a man.

“Even in the toughest times, he never had a bad day. Cullan will be missed by all who had the honor of knowing him. We offer our most heartfelt condolences and prayers to the Brown family in the face of an unimaginable loss.”

Brown became Lyon County High School’s first state champion in golf when he claimed the title in 2016 and was named Kentucky’s golfer of the year. He was state runner-up 2015 and 2017.

He competed in the Barbasol Championship in 2019 and finished the event at 10-under. He fired seven birdies, including five in a row in the third round during his last appearance on the course. He was named to the SEC All-Freshman team in his first season with the Wildcats.

Prior to his sophomore season last fall, Brown withdrew from school and focused on his health.

“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 at the time of his diagnosis last year. "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.”

The men's golf team used the hashtag #B4B (Birdies for Brownie) as their team slogan in honor of Brown last season. The slogan was stitched on the team’s clothing, hats, and official tournament gear.

Chip McDaniel, a former teammate of Brown at Kentucky, was saddened by his passing.

“This world just isn’t fair, (I) can’t even put into words the human being this guy was,” McDaniel said. “One day we’ll grill steaks and hit the white ball around again. Until then, RIP Cullan. You will not be forgotten.”

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at or twitter @keithtaylor21.


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