More than 1,000 football teammates, fraternity brothers and members of the Cal community gathered outside Memorial Stadium on a cool, clear Wednesday night to celebrate the life of Ted Agu.
None of them were ready to say goodbye to the 21-year-old junior defensive end from Bakersfield, who died Friday after a routine football team training run.
“Ted is the inspiration for life. Ted is . . .” said one of his Omega Psi Phi fraternity members. “Let it hurt so bad that you have to smile. You can’t think of a sad moment with Ted, because it doesn’t exist.”
The theme of the student-organized vigil was the sense that Agu — known as “Pre-Med Ted” because he planned to attend medical school — would continue to live on in all those close to him.
Cal teammate Nick Forbes said Agu’s “embrace of life” will guide him forever, and athletic director Sandy Barbour said one of the things she heard repeatedly in recent days “was not that `Ted was’ but `Ted is,’ that Ted will always influence us.”
Ben E. King’s rendition of “Stand By Me” played during a slide and video show and the Black Campus Ministry Gospel Choir performed “Amazing Grace.” Friends took turns telling stories in an open-mic session.
“Ted’s was a life that can’t really be summed up in words,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes told the gathering at Lisa and Douglas Goldman Plaza. “You can only do it with deeds.”
Junior defensive back Stefan McClure spoke to reporters on behalf of his teammates after a team meeting that preceded the service.
McClure recalled Agu’s smile and how he pushed everyone to be stronger, do more. He described the past five days “rough,” adding, “Everyone grieves in their separate ways. Nobody handles that on their own, but we have 100 brothers on our team.”
An autopsy will be performed to determine cause of Agu’s death.