Former Okanagan Sun running back Kory Nagata drowned over the weekend

Player fondly remembered

Kory Nagata is being remembered today as a great athlete, but an even better person.

Nagata, 24, drowned Sunday evening while trying to retrieve a football from the Fraser River in Richmond.

His body was recovered not far from where he went in the river on Monday.

Nagata was a star running back at Hugh Boyd Secondary in Richmond before moving to the Okanagan to continue his football career with the Okanagan Sun.

Sun general manager Jay Christensen remembers Nagata as a "quiet leader."

"He was such a dedicated, polite, do-the-right-thing kind of guy. Like a quiet leader would be how best to describe him. You didn't hear him talk all the time, but always a smile on his face, always giving 100 per cent," recalled Christensen.

"Obviously he was a great football player and highly recruited out of high school. We were fortunate some of the guys that played on the team knew him and he made the decision to play here based on the team we are and his values."

Nagata played two seasons with the Sun in 2014 and 2015, before moving on to the UBC Thunderbirds program.

He was limited to just 10 regular season and three playoff games due to injury but, over that time rushed for nearly 600 yards and seven touchdowns.

Christensen says he expects the board of the Sun to discuss how to honour Nagata when it meets later this month.

"He was a very likeable, lovable young guy. He got along well with the players, got along well with the coaches. You could tell by the core group of friends that he had here that also went to UBC."

Friends and former teammates also took to Facebook to express their shock and grief.

"Got some sad new today, just heard of the passing of former UBC running back Kory Nagata!! Amazing player but a better Person!! He will be greatly missed," posted Joshua Collins.

"Kory Nagata, you were one of the best people I ever met. You had so much going for you, yet you always remained so humble; treating everyone you met with love and respect. The world was a better place for having you in it and it feels darker now that you're gone," stated Matthew Charles.

"I’m stunned and truly saddened by this tragic news ?. Kory Nagata was one of my favourite Okanagan Sun players that I placed in housing when I was Ok Sun housing coordinator. A truly talented athlete and beautiful, humble young man he was. RIP Kory "xoxo Mama Miko," posted Tamiko Lyle.

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