Remembering former T-Birds running back Kory Nagata

24-year-old Kory Nagata died in Richmond on Sunday, July 5 after attempting to retrieve a football from the Fraser River.

Nagata made an impact on UBC through 2016 to 2020 with many of his friends and teammates remembering him as a kind person with an infectious smile.

Nagata played three seasons for the T-Birds, from 2016 to 2018. During his third season, he suffered from a broken foot and was not able to return to play even with a year of recovery, meaning his early retirement from football.

Despite that, Nagata still achieved the title of U Sport Academic All-Canadian in his final season. He graduated with a degree in business from the Sauder School.

“Kory was an exceptional young man who touched the lives of so many people around him. His loss will be felt deeply by all members of the Thunderbirds community,” reads a UBC Athletics statement.

['auto'] File Salomon Micko Benrimoh

‘A great person on and off the field’

Nagata made a considerable impact on the lives of his friends and teammates.

T-Birds’ receiver Lliam Wishart played two seasons with Nagata at UBC. They also played junior football together with the Okanagan Sun.

“There’s so much to say about Kory. I cannot express enough the quality ... guy that Kory was,” said Wishart.

“Kory had such a positive impact on everybody that he knew and everybody that he met. I am so blessed to ever have gotten the opportunity to meet him, to get to know him, to be his friend. He will forever influence me and he did so much, especially when we were younger.”

Former T-Birds receiver Trivel Pinto and Nagata were also teammates.

“He’s honestly the nicest person I’ve ever met. Always positive and his smile was infectious. A great person on and off the field who uplifted those around him with his presence alone,” said Pinto. "He may not be with us physically but he will live on forever in our hearts.”

A friend of former T-Birds basketball player Jadon Cohee introduced him to Kory and they became good friends.

“The best way I could describe Kory was [that] his personality just lit up the room. He made everyone else happy and always made sure everyone was enjoying themselves and having a good time,” said Cohee.

“He put himself before others and everybody I know that knew him, loved him. You can’t say that about most people.”

Additionally, T-Birds’ linebacker Lake Korte-Moore shared few words in his tweet remembering Nagata as the inspiration and a role model to the student-athletes.