UBC Thunderbirds head coach Blake Nill says a big part of the COVID 19 era in collegiate sports is helping players navigate all the realities of being a student-athlete during these challenging times. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)
Feature University Football

While smoke-filled air delays UBC football’s first official workout, ‘Birds coach Nill talks a different strategy with players and their families

VANCOUVER — Sitting in his office overlooking Thunderbird Stadium on Tuesday morning, Blake Nill afforded himself a solitary moment to take a deep breath.These days, you can’t take anything for granted.In the midst of the global pandemic, and with its Canada West season already long cancelled, UBC’s veteran head football coach had worked towards Tuesday […]

UBC Thunderbirds head coach Blake Nill feels that if given a safe environment with which to play, that 2020 could be the year that the Shrum Bowl returns after a 10 year absence. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of VarsityLetters.ca 2020. All Rights Reserved)
There is still hope that players like Fraser Valley Cascades' rising second-year forward Katie Lampen (right) and the rest of the B.C.-based teams in the Canada West women's and men's soccer worlds will be able to play meaningful exhibitions later this fall, if the environment is deemed safe by provincial health, as well as university authorities. (Photo by Dan Kinvig property of University of the Fraser Valley athletics 2019. All Rights Reserved)
Feature University Football University Women's Soccer

Despite a cancelled fall season, B.C.’s Canada West schools keep alive hopes of meaningful inter-province competition!

The Canada West’s fall sports season may have been officially cancelled Monday due to the COVID-19 pandemic, yet some coaches and administrators from the conference’s B.C.-member schools seemed united in their hopeful belief that with a continued flattening of the curve throughout the summer months and all the appropriate green lights flashing, that its core […]

Garrett Rooker, a 6-foot-3 two-sport star at Clear Springs High, just outside of Houston, is headed north to join the UBC Thunderbirds as both a quarterback and guard-forward. (Photo provided by UBC football and Garrett Rooker)
Feature University Football University Men's Basketball

Garrett Rooker: How the UBC Thunderbirds found a Texas 6A-tier football/basketball standout in time for the 2020-21 season!

VANCOUVER — UBC reputation as one of the world’s great universities is certainly no secret to academia’s global community.On Friday, however, that same reputation not only earned the the school a top-flight entrant into its kinesiology program, but a blue-chip high school senior from Texas with the ability to be a difference maker both barking […]

Defensive lineman Kaishaun Carter (left) and receiver/return man Jason Soriano are two of B.C.'s blue-chip graduating Class of 2020 set to begin their university football careers next season with the UBC Thunderbirds. (Photos by Howard Tsumura, Varsity Letters, and Richard Lam, UBC athletics. All Rights Reserved. Photo graphic by Gabriel Lynn)
Feature High School Football University Football

A Sunday Read: UBC football coach Blake Nill says Jason Soriano, Kaishaun Carter “…the ones who can make you Coach of the Year”

VANCOUVER — UBC Thunderbirds football in the Blake Nill-era hit its low ebb in 2019, yet four seasons after its rousing, unexpected 2015 Vanier Cup national championship title debut, a second wind has begun to blow through the ranks of the blue and gold.

UBC Thunderbirds head coach Blake Nill, along with the rest of the 'Bird football staff, will go on-line Wednesday to introduce the blue-and-gold program to over 100 current Grades 11 high school standouts as part of its virtual Junior Day. (Photo by Richard Lam property of UBC athletics 2020. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School Football University Football

UBC football 2020: ‘Birds hold ‘virtual’ Junior Day on Wednesday as pandemic forces teams to think outside the box

VANCOUVER — Like all programs headed towards the fall sports season of play, the UBC Thunderbirds football team is keeping the health of everyone involved first and foremost during the coronavirus pandemic.

UBC's second-year defensive back Jaxon Ciraolo-Brown is living up to his potential as a future star. The Hamilton native came up with three interceptions Saturday against the Calgary Dinos. (Photo by David Moll property of Calgary Dinos athletics 2019. All Rights Reserved)
Feature University Football

Thunderbird Stadium was a ‘Land of Opportunity’ for youthful UBC football in 2019, Saturday loss in Calgary turns page on next chapter

In his 20-plus seasons as a U Sports head football coach, Blake Nill has made a habit of his coaching his teams into national-title contention.When exactly the opposite happens to the degree with which it did this season, it’s no wonder that the UBC Thunderbirds’ veteran football boss was having a tough time coming to […]

Is he set to become the new face of UBC football in 2020? 'Birds quarterback Gabe Olivares engineered his team's 38-37 win over No. 3 Saskatchewan on Saturday at T-Bird Stadium. (Photo by Darryl Dyck property of UBC athletics 2019. All Rights Reserved)
Feature University Football

A SUNDAY READ: Why UBC football’s upset stunner over No. 3 Saskatchewan has ‘Birds coach Nill convinced it’s deja vu, all over again

VANCOUVER — Blake Nill didn’t hesitate for a second. When placekicker Garrin McDonnell booted his fifth field goal of the day, an 11-yarder with just 31 seconds to play to lift the underdog UBC to a most improbable 38-37 win over a Saskatchewan Huskies’ team ranked No. 3 in the nation, the grizzled Thunderbirds’ head coach […]

UBC quarterback Gabe Olivares passed for 300-plus yards in leading the Thunderbirds to the first win of their 2019 Canada West season Friday in Regina. (Photo by Trevor LaFramboise property of Regina athletics 2019. All rights reserved)
Feature University Football

UBC football impresses with season’s first victory, yet despite win in Regina, Thunderbirds eliminated from Canada West playoffs

Its Canada West football playoff hopes may have evaporated with just two more conference games remaining, yet the UBC Thunderbirds discovered they still had enough heroic karma left in the tank of a frustrating season to pick up their first victory of 2019.“We tried our best to give it to them,” ‘Birds head coach Blake Nill […]

UBC quarterback Gabe Olivares and the rest of the Thunderbirds endured a tough fourth quarter Saturday in a loss to the visiting Alberta Golden Bears. (Photo by Bob Frid property of UBC athletics 2019. All rights reserved)
Feature University Football

UBC football: After late collapse to Alberta, what’s most key for 0-5 ‘Birds over final three games? Forging a team identity for 2020

VANCOUVER — Over the window of their academic careers on the Point Grey campus, forestry students at UBC can put in the long hours required towards earning a Masters degree in the sustainable management of one of our province’s great natural resources.Over at Thunderbird Stadium, however, a whole other group of UBC students are attempting […]