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Hall of Fame Profile – Arnie Garber

Arnie Garber as a member of the 1971 Milwaukee BucksArnie Garber is one of the most colorful storytellers you may ever encounter. Despite having been in Wisconsin for nearly 50 years, he still carries a New England accent, a booming voice, and a hardy laugh that can make a room shake.

Garber played fullback and linebacker for the Boston Patriots in the American Football League (AFL) in 1960 and 1961, before the merger between the AFL and National Football League. He was also the longsnapper on those Patriots teams. Garber was coached by Lou Saban while with the Patriots. Lou is a second cousin of University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban.

Garber is probably best known as the original trainer for the Milwaukee Bucks. From 1968-1978, Garber served as the Bucks trainer and earned a National Basketball Association title with the team in 1971.

Arnie Garber measuring a Bucks playerWhile the Bucks have started practicing and playing preseason games in Madison this season, it’s not the first time they’ve played there. The Bucks played regular season games in the Dane County Coliseum. When the playoffs came, the Milwaukee Arena was booked for the sports show and the Coliseum was also booked, forcing the Bucks to play the first round of the 1971 NBA playoffs at the University of Wisconsin Fieldhouse.

“It was unbelievable – like a college atmosphere,” Garber remembers. “They had 12,000 people in the stands stomping their feet.”

In 1985, Garber joined the Racine Gladiators and coached the team until 2002. He was an assistant coach for five national championship teams – 1988, 1989, 1992, 1995, and 2001. Garber then became the head coach of the Milwaukee Marauders. Garber was inducted into the American Football Association Minor League Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

Garber is now an assistant defensive line and specialist coach at Concordia University-Wisconsin. He was the catalyst to the university starting a football program in 1980. He was inducted into the William C. Ackmann Memorial Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

In 2016, Garber was honored with induction into the Racine Raiders Hall of Fame.