EAST ORANGE – The year is 1990. The time is a rainy Thanksgiving Day. It would be the last time many of the class of 1991 from both East Orange High School and Barringer High School would play each other in the Muddy Martin Stadium. East Orange had the likes of QB James Garret, RB J. Marcus Broughton, FB Fabian Thorne, Tackle Harry Archie, LB Terrence Scott, and Tackle Andrew McFarlane, and TE Clarence Ates leading the charge after a disappointing 1-7 season, losing to vaunted rivals Randolph, Morristown, and Roxbury.
Over the years, since graduation, these gentlemen all have gone on to play college ball, start careers, and have families of their own. One in particular is Fabian Thorne. He was always the exception to the rule as a star athlete. From a very young age, he knew he wanted to be a football player and went on to excel in the sport. Fabian holds several rushing records for the Panthers of East Orange High School. He was one of the first to start at Defensive End / Linebacker as a freshman in high school and something of tradition he did it again at Trinity College, an NAIA Division 2 school, where he was on the practice squad before transferring to Delaware State University in the spring of 1993. But before we can delve into his accomplishments, we have to understand the man he is today.
Fabian Thorne was born in South Hill, Va., a suburb of Petersburg, Va. His mother, Mrs. Annie Thorne, noticed very early in his childhood that something was a little off when he was old enough to walk. By age 2, Fabian was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his left eye that was spreading to his brain. The doctors had no choice but to remove his left eye in order to stop the tumor from spreading further to his brain. “For them to catch it early when they did was a new chance on life for me,” said Thorne. One of three children, an older sister, Angela, and younger brother Chad, the Thorne family moved to East Orange after their mother received a job offer in the area of East Orange. It was there when Fabian started to play football at the young age of 7. He, along with another young player, were the two youngest to actively play for the East Orange Rams at their inception in 1980. The Rams at that time only had one level, and by 1984, had grown to have three levels and featured Fabian as their starting RB. Over the years, with the East Orange Rams, who are the oldest active Pop Warner team in the Greater Newark and East Orange areas, Fabian racked up several touchdowns and yards playing with the older kids. He played the game. Then after that, came his time, as he calls it. “My time is to take a moment to reflect emotionally, spiritually, and physically” he stated. “This allows me to better myself and anticipate what’s coming.”
Anticipating the next move has given Fabian a keen insight to overcome his handicap. “Growing up, my mom had to use public assistance in order to cover the medical expenses for my eye,” Thorne explained, “I watched her make ends meet as the cost of purchasing a prosthetic eye became more expensive.” Those many life lessons gave Fabian a sense of direction to follow his dreams. Fabian amassed an impressive football resume. Fabian was coached by East Orange High School alum and head coach Tony Pierce, who was a recent coach at Savannah State University as a Linebacker Coach as well as being mentored by Legendary Coach and former Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier, who is currently in charge of the defensive backs with the Baltimore Ravens, and former NFL RB Michael Meade, who played for the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. “What a lot of people don’t know is that Andre Williams was very instrumental in getting me to Delaware State University after leaving Trinity,” said Thorne. He went on to explain how Williams spotted Fabian at the annual Thanksgiving Game. The jump from a NAIA school to NCAA Division 1 AA (Now Football Championship Subdivision) made it possible for Fabian to make it happen. He got his shot by the third game of the 1994 season as a junior. “I never looked back. I felt that God has always guided my steps and anticipate the moves we as a team make. There was a time where I was in the backfield and the quarterback called a particular play, and I whispered to call an audible to change the play. The opposing defense was looking for a particular play and I took the ball for a score after the audible was made,” explained Thorne. For two seasons, Fabian amassed an impressive 2,385 yards rushing on 458 attempts, averaging a little over 5 yards a carry which he scored 25 times. He also went on to catch the ball out of the backfield for 214 yards those two seasons. He said some of his best games were against the Aggies of North Carolina A&T, the Rattlers of Florida A&M, the Bisons of Howard University and nearby Bears of Morgan State University. Each of these games garnered a minimum of two touchdowns and over a hundred yards or more for the Hornets of Delaware State. “I only missed the single-season rushing record my senior season because I was short by 3 yards and I wasn’t aware of it at the time,” explained Thorne. “I would have been the first fullback to do it had I gained those yards.”
In speaking with Coach Pierce via telephone, he spoke highly of Fabian Thorne. “Back when I had Fabian as a freshman, I saw right away the desire and heart he had, which is phenomenal. The experience to have coached him in high school and later in college was only short of a godsend.” Pierce is very active with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes that brought the likes of Herschel Walker, Alvin Nicks, and a few other great players who were more than happy to come to East Orange to speak and mentor players about the game and life. “Fabian has taken everything he’s learned and expanded upon it two fold in everything he is doing. Whether it is his family, sports and training, and now business he has shown no fear in going after what he wants in life,” concluded Coach Pierce with pride.
After graduating college with a degree in business management, Thorne stayed an extra year as a running backs coach for DSU before heading off to play semi professionally, starting with the Kingston Panthers from of the Empire State Football League out of Kingston, N.Y.; Newark Buccaneers of Newark; and the Orange County Bulldogs also of the Empire State Football League out of Orange County, N.Y. By 2003, Thorne had gotten a shot to play in Europe. “I played in Germany where the NFL was still new to the European Market,” he said. “I played for the Erding Bulls, in Erding, Germany, which is a part of a European Federation of American Football (which now called the International Federation of American Football) and a very competitive Professional Football League in its own right.” He played in four games, quickly gaining 689 yards on 73 attempts, averaging 9.43 yards per carry and 187 yards receiving, all while scoring 12 touchdowns. “I was invited to NFL Europe for my achievements, but never played for them,” he said.
Thorne retired from playing football after being picked up on a two-day waiver in February 2006 by the Arena Football League’s Georgia Force. “I knew it was time to make a change as I became older. So, I knew that I wanted to make an impact on those who can benefit from me as their guide to staying fit, keeping the body, mind, and soul intoned as one machine, if you will.”
Nowadays, Thorne is a successful businessman where he owns and operates Built 2 Last Fitness. He has several clients, ranging in age and expertise, as well as quite a few celebrity clients who are in several communities around the country. He is also a very inspirational, motivational speaker, concentrating his message on his upbringing and all the other lessons he learned to the youth, high school and college level athletes. “We offer youth combines for the young players who are looking to grow and be the best at the positions they play,” he said. “Along with the youth combines, we have the High School Fitness and Training program where some of our top clients have went on to top college programs around the country. We have actually gone as far as training a future pro football athlete that we will announce at a later date,” he added with pride. “I want those who we train to feel the energy and embrace our methods to training.” When asked what is his recommendation for nutritional meals, he simply stated that his athletes are on a high protein, low-carb diet that build muscles with the right supplements, BCAA, multivitamins, along with salmon, bison lean steaks, sweet potatoes and avocados. For the youth athletes, he recommends everything, along with greek yogurt and fresh fruits. “I believe building your body should be done from the inside out,” he stated. “If you are really conscious of how you prepare your meals, it should be made with fresh herbs and spices while keeping with fresh produce from your local farmers markets.”
Built 2 Last can be found on most social media sites but more prominently on youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/b2lfitness.
“We are currently building our website under www.fabianthorne.com which will be an automatic lead in to our Built 2 Last network. If you are looking for a change in mind body and soul, then you can contact me via email Fabian@fabianthorne.com” he concluded.