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Life After Hollywood: Thetford Native Leaves Lakers Post

  • Tim DiFrancesco, head strength and conditioning coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, before a game with the Boston Celtics on Dec. 5, 2014. (Channing Johnson photograph)

  • Tim DiFrancesco performs a piriformis stretch at the NBA Players Association gym in Brooklyn, N.Y., while with the Lakers last season.

  • Tim DiFrancesco speaks during the strength and conditioning portion of a basketball camp in Bergen, Norway, in 2015.  

  • Tim DiFrancesco demonstrates a lunging exercise in the Los Angeles Lakers training facility last season.

  • Tim DiFrancesco speaks at Los Angeles Lakers youth outreach program in El Segundo, Calif., in 2015. 



Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, July 07, 2017

 

Thetford native Tim DiFrancesco left what many athletic trainers would consider a dream job because, frankly, he has bigger dreams.

DiFrancesco, 36, recently resigned as head strength and conditioning coach of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 1999 Thetford Academy graduate and former three-sport Panther had spent six seasons in Tinseltown, training the likes of superstars Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, as well as a bevy of young players during a rebuilding period for one of the league’s storied franchises.

DiFrancesco has elected to reshift his focus to TD Athletes Edge, a company he founded in 2007 with his younger brother, Scott, and childhood friend Jed Sturman.

Beginning as a gym in Swampscott, Mass., it closed after Tim joined the Lakers in 2011, but they’ve kept the company alive with a website (www.tdathletesedge.com) featuring blog posts and links to training videos, complemented by active social media accounts.

In recent years, DiFrancesco has developed wide-ranging mentorship and advisory strategies, working with clients to find their “career Super Bowl.” He hopes to expand these programs and his client base, among other ventures, now that he’s moved on from the NBA.

“I have a lot of thoughts, ideas and a big-picture vision, and I realized that there is so much more that I can do in the fields of rehabilitation, strength and conditioning, and performance training,” said DiFrancesco, who holds a bachelor’s degree in athletic training from Endicott College, where he played basketball, and a doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

“As amazing as it was to work with the Lakers, there are things you just can’t do when you’re in charge of 15 NBA roster players. I’ve always been someone who looks for a challenge and likes to get out of my comfort zone and adapt to new environments. Continuing to building TD Athletes Edge is a new challenge to focus on.”

DiFrancesco and his wife, Jenny, gave birth to a daughter, Averie, last year. The family moved out of the Los Angeles area last month and is now living in Jenny’s hometown of Chelmsford, Mass.

“My daughter and my family is the most beautiful thing in my life, and having her really magnifies (the sacrifices) of traveling so much with the team,” DiFrancesco said. “This new challenge allows me to be more of or a presence for my family.”

Tim DiFrancesco’s career move was inspired by Scott, who in 2013 walked away from his post as head athletic trainer for the Trenton Thunder, the double-A affiliate for the New York Yankees.

It was an even bigger risk for Scott, who moved to New York City with his girlfriend, actress Rachel Williams, without a guaranteed job. He ended up as a manager at Whole Foods and has been accepted to the New York Institute of Technology’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, with classes beginning next month.

“What motivated me was that I knew I had more to offer and could reach people in a more profound way than what I was doing,” said Scott DiFrancesco, who is marrying Williams in Orford next Saturday. “The role of an athletic trainer is important, but I had a sense that I wasn’t fulfilling my capabilities.”

Tim DiFrancesco has long drawn inspiration from Scott, who made the brothers’ first big leap when he left Indiana’s Ball State University to intern with the Yankees’ farm system back in 2006. A few years later, a mutual friend inquired to Tim about Scott’s interest in joining the NBA D-League Bakersfield Jam, a job that Tim instead accepted, eventually leading to the Lakers’ job.

“There are a lot of parallels between us, and there’s no question he’s who inspired me to get into pro sports to begin with,” Tim DiFrancesco said. “He was really the trail blazer in that regard.”

Scott has also taken the lead on a newly created podcast the pair produces, Edge Factor Radio, which focuses on what they call the three pillars of fitness: nutrition, training and recovery.

The program so far has featured guests ranging from Nash — a continued client of Tim’s — to former Lakers nutrition consultant Cate Shanahan and sport sleep coach Nick Littlehales. The show is unsponsored, at least for the time being, but the brothers are simply trying to present an accessible way for followers to absorb and connect.

“The content takes an approach we call the ‘aggregate of marginal gains,’ which basically means small changes add up to big results,” Scott DiFrancesco said. “Our goal is to provide a lot of nuggets that people can use to be generally more healthy and perform better in their daily lives. We also hope it’s a good way for people to interact with us. We’re utilizing an app called Anchor where we can answer listener questions in short segments.”

Scott DiFrancesco, who hosts the show from his apartment in Queens, N.Y., worked closely with Sturman, the brothers’ childhood friend, to learn how to effectively use newly acquired audio equipment. Sturman, who has a finance strategy degree from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, works behind the scenes to make TD Athletes Edge run.

“I pretty much handle all of the marketing, contract negotiations, taxes and things to get the bills paid so Tim and Scott can do what they do,” said Sturman, who also played three sports at Thetford Academy and graduated with Tim’s 1999 class. “It’s been a great partnership to be able to link up our skill sets. I’ve been happy to support what they’re doing because they both work so hard and have such undying energy, and they’re just great guys.”

Tim DiFrancesco, an unabashed Celtics fan before joining the Lakers, wouldn’t bite when asked if he’s begun to bleed green again now that he’s no longer employed by Boston’s biggest historic rival.

“I’m simply a basketball fan now,” he said. “It’s hard to explain my relationship with the game after everything I’ve been exposed to and how I’ve been involved. I will say that Celtics fans can pat themselves on the back. I’ve been to every arena and they’re hands down one of the best fan bases in the game in terms of the noise they make and overall support.”

Edge Factor Radio can be found on iTunes and Stitcher Radio.

Jared Pendak can be reached at jpendak@vnews.com or 603-727-3225.