'No matter what, I was going to be playing that night'

'No matter what, I was going to be playing that night'

EUGENE, Ore. - Oregon offensive lineman Nick Cody keeps his dad’s memory alive with each game.

Cliff Cody died from complications with colon cancer on October 27, 2006, a day that Nick now spends remembering his father.

However, on that day in 2006, Nick was preparing for a football game.

The Brush Prairie, Wash., native and offensive tackle for Hockinson High School played one of his toughest games that night against Washougal High School. 

The game itself was tough, as Hockinson lost, but even tougher was Nick’s perseverance through his family’s tragedy.

“I made a commitment to my teammates that, no matter what, I was going to be playing that night,” says Cody.  “I think that’s the only way I could’ve dealt with it.”

Since that day, Nick plays every game in memory and dedication to his father.

He writes his dad’s initials on his cleats and athletic tape before every game, and he has a glass orb containing some of his father’s ashes that he meditates with in the locker room.

Cliff Cody served two tours of duty in Vietnam and worked as a Corrections Officer for 23 years. He and Nick bonded over football.

“We were both huge NFL fans,” says Cody. “He kind of taught me the game.”

Nick Cody came to the University of Oregon in 2008 as the 3rd best player in the state of Washington and the 25th best player at his position in the nation.

He redshirted the 2008 season but worked his way up to a starting spot in the 2011 season.

Now, Nick looks to his coaches as father figures.

“I look to those men as leadership roles for me, someone who doesn’t have a father anymore. The relationship I have with those men is immensely important to my development as a human being and being a man myself.”

Story from the University of Oregon Sports Media Workshop