Tom Farniok is in his fifth season at Iowa State, and is working and grinding to realize his dream of playing in the NFL.
The fifth-year senior co-captain from Sioux Falls, South Dakota will be one of the undisputed leaders of the Cyclone offense in 2014. A two-time honorable mention All-Big 12 pick, Farniok has the most career starts (35) on the team and is a preseason Rimington Award Watch List member, an award given annually to the nation’s best center.
As Farniok prepares for his final season with NFL dreams, he has the comfort of knowing he has another blossoming career path if he wishes to choose it.
He proved that this summer by assisting with the men’s basketball program with their strength and conditioning workouts.
Farniok needed class credits for an internship to complete his degree in kinesiology/exercise science. One of ISU’s hardest workers in the weight room, Farniok knew this would be a great opportunity.
“I want to be a collegiate strength and conditioning coach someday,” Farniok said. “It was a great experience for me just seeing the way they do things, and seeing how (Fred) Hoiberg’s staff operates. Obviously, he’s a great coach and you can learn a lot from just observing the program and being in the same area.”
The Cyclone senior didn’t go through the motions with his internship. In fact, he made quite an impact.
“Tom was awesome, especially as an athlete who already has an idea of what our athletes go through,” said Andy Moser, Iowa State’s Director of Strength and Conditioning for Olympic Sports and head strength coach for men’s basketball. “He already has a great knowledge base of the training, the strength and conditioning and just our student-athlete life in general. I preach to my staff that you have to develop a good, sincere relationship with the athletes first before you’ll be able to coach them. Even as an intern, he came in and connected with the guys from day one.”
Moser has had assistance from football players in the past. Brett Bueker aided in men’s hoops workouts in his final year as an undergraduate. Bueker benefitted from the internship, as the former Cyclone co-captain was hired full-time on the Cyclone football strength and conditioning staff this summer.
As a former ISU letterwinner in football himself, Moser understands the time commitment both Farniok and Bueker shared in their internship.
“Tom would finish his morning workouts with football and then head over later to help out the basketball workouts,” added Moser. “Tom would have to separate himself from the two workouts and get into a coaching mode. Our guys really respected him. Anybody that works for me, they’re an extension of me. But our guys really did a good job of respecting him and making sure they listened to him. He was able to come over here with our groups and really get into a coaching mode and really help our guys out.”
Farniok admitted gaining the respect from the players was a high priority. He didn’t want to be perceived as a fellow student-athlete, but as an instructor. The players bought in right away.
“Coach Moser, he’s a great strength coach and it was great to be around him and learn from him,” said Farniok. “The guys came to work every day for him and me. They were focused. Obviously, that’s why they’re a good team because you can tell they believe in doing things right. Georges (Niang) is a hell of a worker. We all saw the picture of his body change. He’s made a huge commitment to being in shape and watching his body. He’s the type of guy that maximizes every ounce of ability he has.”
Niang knew right away that Farniok was about business when he stepped into the weight room. He benefited from his knowledge.
“He (Farniok) was a great guy to be around,” the All-Big 12 forward said. “He obviously has a lot of energy and he brought a lot of energy around us, and that helped with our lifts to have a guy like that who is so experienced with lifting. He was very active helping us with reps and pushing us to do sets. It was great to have him around to push us through.”
Farniok doesn’t have a crystal ball to tell his future. He does, however, have valuable experience under his belt as a strength and conditioning instructor when that time comes.
Farniok will have a strong recommendation from Moser, “He’s going to be a pretty good strength coach.”