LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky men’s golfer Cullan Brown, who battled osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer in his left thigh, died on Tuesday. He was 20.
“Our hearts are simply devastated over the loss of our brother Cullan,” UK head 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,” Craig said. “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.
“I cannot properly put into words how much I loved Cullan and love his family,” Craig said. “Our entire team has been blessed to have had him as a member of our family even though it was cut way too short. For as long as I coach at the University of Kentucky, I will make sure our young men know of Cullan’s legacy and impact on every one of us. May God comfort and bless the Browns during this difficult time.”
Brown was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in September and spent the past year inspiring the golf community and Kentucky fans with his courageous battle, while continuing to showcase his kindhearted and humble personality.
“These are painful moments for the UK Athletics family,” UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart said. “Our university and our state have lost a truly special person in Cullan Brown. 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,” Barnhart said. “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.”
A native of Eddyville, Kentucky, he was an All-Southeastern Conference Freshman Team selection in 2019 after producing a 72.42 stroke average over eight events. He made seven starts for the Wildcats, including the Southeastern Championship and the NCAA Athens Regional.
Brown garnered four top-20 finishes. He tied for fifth at the Mason Rudolph where he tallied an opening round of 64, which tied for the lowest 18-hole score in the Craig era. His 54-hole total of 206 tied for the best mark of the season.
In his first career postseason event, he tied for ninth at the SEC Championship during stroke play. He fired rounds of 67-69-72 to help lead UK to a third-place showing and advance to the semifinals of match play for the first time in program history. He registered 10 par-or-better rounds throughout his freshman season.
Appearing in his first-ever PGA event, Brown provided the Big Blue Nation faithful with quite a show, shooting 10-under par for the tournament and logging par-or-better scores during all four rounds at the Barbasol Championship held at the local Keene Trace Course in Nicholasville, Kentucky, in 2019.
Brown carded rounds of 72-68-67-71 and tie for 53rd. On moving day, Brown posted his best round of the tournament, which featured seven total birdies. That included a stretch where he birdied five consecutive holes beginning at the par-four fourth.
He was awarded the Male Rookie of the Year award at the 2020 virtual CATSPY awards presented by UK Athletics in April and appeared on an episode of BBN Live to accept his award.
The 2019-20 UK men’s and women’s golf teams used the hashtag #B4B to honor their teammate as their team slogan. It stands for “Birdies for Brownie,” and was stitched on clothing and hats within the team’s official tournament gear. In addition to his prowess on the course, Brown was an exceptional cook and enjoyed preparing meals for his teammates on road trips and for his community of Eddyville.
Prior to playing suiting up for the Wildcats, Brown was the first state champion at Lyon County High School in 2016 en route to being named the state’s player of the year.
Arrangements are pending. Brown is survived by his parents, Rodney and Emily, and his sister, Cathryn.