T3’s Company

HIGH SCORER: Lori Brown, lacrosse enthusiast and owner of T3 Lacrosse in Bernardsville, takes time out from an indoor training session at TEST Sports Club in Martinsville.

HIGH SCORER: Lori Brown, lacrosse enthusiast and owner of T3 Lacrosse in Bernardsville, takes time out from an indoor training session at TEST Sports Club in Martinsville.

When Lori Brown moved to New Jersey in 1992, she observed one glaring difference between her new home and the Pennsylvania suburb of her childhood: the girls’ lacrosse scene was notably lackluster on this side of the Delaware.

A star midfielder, Brown was a two-time All-American at the University of Richmond and a member of Team USA. Lacrosse had surrounded her as long as she could remember, so the void was obvious. But she was busy working in sales for pharmaceutical company ICI and, soon enough, raising her daughters, Samantha and Devon.

Facing divorce in 2002 and realizing that she had to get back to work, Brown dreaded leaving her daughters—then 7 and 5—every day. “I really didn’t want to go back to corporate work,” she says. “This was a time to think about what I wanted to do with my time, what I’d really love to do, and still be available for my kids.”

Suddenly, the lack of lacrosse presence in New Jersey was less a sad reality and more a promising opportunity. “I decided to see if I could build a business doing something that I love and help girls build success,” she says. “I was lucky because my timing was good. Lacrosse was just taking off.”

For two years, Brown worked alongside Marc Moreau at Leading Edge Lacrosse in Far Hills, developing training programs for girls in tandem with his booming boys’ lacrosse business.  By 2005, her work had grown so fast that she set out on her own, starting T3 Lacrosse (short for triple threat) out of her Basking Ridge home.

T3 now has more than 8,000 registra

tions a year—“from the little ones who get so excited when they first catch a ball to girls who are trying to get onto college teams,” Brown says.

The offerings are broken into four categories: elite teams, leagues, tournaments, and training programs for players and coaches. The elite teams now number 20 (10 T3 North and 10 T3 Shore teams, all New Jersey-based) and the T3 website—
t3lacrosse.com—boasts dozens of high school players who have been recruited to Division I teams, from Rutgers to Duke and USC, including many top-10 programs.

For Brown, this is a twofold accomplishment. T3 helped put New Jersey on the map, with Garden State players “earning respect and showing they can play.” (T3 hosts events to showcase the work of its elite players for college scouts.) But it also shows that an increasing number of girls are following Brown’s path, playing on a college team. “I love that they’re taking the sport with them and finding success and teamwork,” she says. “It’s rewarding to see them make that choice.”

COACH MOM: Brown with her daughters, Devon, left, and Samantha, who agree seeing their mom launch a business has been inspiring.

COACH MOM: Brown with her daughters, Devon, left, and Samantha, who agree seeing their mom launch a business has been inspiring.

One athlete who made that decision is Brown’s daughter Samantha, a junior at Ridge High School, who has already committed to High Point University. “It all happens so early now,” Brown says. To help athletes navigate that process, T3 offers guidance to its players and has developed connections with college coaches. John Buccarelli, who Brown married in 2008, co-owns the business and runs the recruiting side of things. “He had to make the transition from Wall Street broker, but the job really suits him. He’s so personable, and he works hard to build relationships with these colleges.”

Working with her husband, she says, helps them maintain a work-life balance that keeps T3 running smoothly while allowing them to be attentive to their kids: Brown’s daughters and Buccarelli’s two sons. The business is booming, but also consuming. After running T3 (which includes year-round programs) for almost a year on her own, Brown’s staff has now grown to five, including co-director Chris Raichle, plus 30 part-time coaches, some T3 alumni.

The office is still at home, something she and her staff have grown accustomed to. “We’re working hard, but it’s comfortable,” she says. Brown is at her desk from 9 am to 4 pm, taking a midday workout break and hitting the sidelines for her kids’ games. “The hours are long, and there’s a lot of night and weekend work. When you own your own business, you never really shut it off,” she says.

But Brown, 45, says the most exhausting stretch is behind her. “When you’re building, it’s the hardest time, and I was guilty of trying to get everything just right. I think that’s what has made it such a success, but it takes a lot of work.”

Now, she says, T3 runs so smoothly she could franchise it. Building that reputation and finding the right coaches has paid off. “It’s truly amazing to witness what Lori has done for all the girls and for the sport,” says Debra DeWitt, whose twin ninth-graders have been involved in T3 since they were first-graders. “She truly cares about these kids and wants to help them realize their dreams via sports…T3 has instilled a deep passion for the game in my girls.”

As someone with a longtime passion for the game herself, Brown could not be more thrilled with where it’s taken her. “There was no one moment, but gradually over time I realized, ‘This is actually working! I’m supporting my family, I’m home with my kids, and I’m offering this great opportunity for girls.’ It’s really such a happy story.

Lessons Beyond Lacrosse

Lori Brown’s daughters have grown into successful lacrosse players, no doubt learning from their mom. But more than teaching her girls how to cradle, dodge or shoot, Brown hopes her work has instilled broader lessons. “I hope they’ve learned that you can take on any challenge if you work hard. I hope they realize they can dream.” According to Samantha and Devon, she’s taught them that and more.

“If you really are passionate about something and want to make a career out of it, then you can,” says Samantha. “It’s not easy or stress-free, that’s for sure, but if you put everything into it, then you really can create something successful…. There are so many ways to create a living, and to make one by doing something you love is something I also hope to be able to do in the years to come. I’m really proud of my mom.”

Adds Devon, “As my mom’s business grew, my responsibilities grew along with it—I began to see just how much more I would have to do around the house…which wasn’t always the best, however, I definitely learned from it. Watching my mom create this business changed how I view the world. I see how she deals with her more demanding clients; she is very patient, a skill I need a few lessons on. I see many more opportunities in my life after watching my mom. Watching her shape an idea into a business has really inspired me.”

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