Pete's Point: Farnum's work isn't over when Timberwolves' season ends
The Minnesota Timberwolves’ basketball season may have ended this week, but the work isn’t over for the team’s head trainer Gregg Farnum.
Farnam, a 1988 Pine River- Backus graduate who is wrapping up his 17th season with the NBA franchise, said he will stay busy with postseason treatment for some of the players. He also regularly provides training services for USA Basketball and other NBA initiatives during the offseason.
“I will eventually get a break,” Farnam said in a recent phone interview. “It depends on how we finish the season health-wise. I do check in with the players and follow up with them (after the season). Sometimes that requires me to travel, which I’ve done a few times over the years. We even took turns going to Spain when Ricky Rubio had an ACL injury (two years ago).”
The Timberwolves, who missed the NBA playoffs this season, have a handful of injured players who will keep Farnum busy. Those sidelined players for the final week of the season were Chase Budinger, Shabazz Muhammad and Nikola Pekovic.
“The last couple years were actually worse,” Farnum said of the injury list. “All things considered, this year was more manageable. The (lengthy) injuries to Pekovic and (Ronny) Turiaf are frustrating, but they’re part of the sport.”
Farnum, who has been the Timberwolves’ head trainer the past 14 years, said he is “very fortunate” to have the opportunity to work at the NBA level. The team’s media guide describes his job as being “responsible for all aspects of the Wolves’ training room operations, including monitoring each player’s physical condition and assessing/treating injuries.”
“There are some sacrifices, like the travel, as far as my family is concerned,” he said, “but I feel it’s a blessing to have the opportunity to be one of the 30 head trainers in the NBA.”
Farnum didn’t think about being part of the Timberwolves while in school at PR-B. In fact, the NBA franchise didn’t start until one year later for the 1989-90 season.
“After high school I went into the Air Force for four years,” he recalled. “Then I went to college, and that’s when I started following (the Timberwolves). That’s when I looked at different career interests, and I realized athletic training was a profession that I wanted to get into. It peaked my interest because it combined science medicine and sports. For me it was a good fit.”
Farnam graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sports medicine from St. Cloud State University and has a master’s degree in exercise science and health promotions from California University of Pennsylvania. He is a certified member of the National Trainers Association, the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the National Academy of Sports Medicine.
Farnum first joined the Timberwolves for the 1997-98 season. They were just starting to be a contender with young stars like Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury. The team made the playoffs eight straight years, but has now missed the playoffs the past 10 seasons.
“Seventeen years is a long time, but I still enjoy it,” Farnum said of his job. “I just take it from year to year.”
There could be an off-season change in head coaches with the Timberwolves, but that probably won’t affect Farnum’s position since he’s part of team management.
Farnam and with his wife, Tiffany, and children reside in Rogers. As for getting back home to visit family, Farnum expects that to happen later this summer after work slows down.
“I like to get up (to the Pine River area) in the summer since my sister and my folks still live there,” said Farnum, who added that he sometimes sees his family when they travel to Minneapolis to attend Timberwolves games.