T. J. Brown was mainstay on the men's soccer team from 2008-2012. Playing defense all four years, The Hendersonville, Tennessee native holds the school's Division I era records for most career matches played (75) and most matches played in a season (21). He also earned Atlantic Sun All-Freshman honors in 2008. Recently, Brown spoke to BelmontBruins.com about his time as a Bruin and life after Belmont.
Why did you choose Belmont?
When I visited the University of Dayton, one of the assistant coaches, Nick Glaser, told me that I would know the morning after I woke up after my official visit if the school was right or not. After visiting many schools, Belmont was the choice I never doubted.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Belmont?
Being named captain and leading my team through the years.
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Belmont and how?
Betty Wiseman and Colette Keyser. Betty Wiseman was the Chairman of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee while I was a member and President. She taught me wisdom about faith and leadership that I could not have learned anywhere else. Ms. Keyser was probably the realest and most supportive person I knew at Belmont. She was always there to help point me in the right direction. I remember her saying, "Mr. Brown, you can't get everything you want in life by smiling".
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Belmont?
Being a full-time student and full-time athlete at Belmont gave me the experiences needed to be prepared for any challenge my career presents.
What advice would you give to current members of the soccer team?
Give everything you have to the sport while you are at Belmont but have a plan for your life outside of soccer. Whether it be when you graduate, or 20 years down the road, your athletic career will come to an end at some point, and a new career will begin.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
Dr. Peter Kuryla. He wasn't my favorite at the time because he almost failed me. He wouldn't let me get by because I was a leader of the soccer team and challenged me to get better as a real student athlete. I had to earn my grade in his class no matter what. He once told me, "I will fail the captain of the soccer team if he doesn't put the same work in the classroom as he does on the field."
Where do you live now?
Hendersonville, TN. I just moved back to the Nashville area, purchased and renovated my grandfather's house, who was one of my best friends.
Who is your employer? What is your occupation?
Beam Suntory. Key Account Manager-Large Format Liquor. I call on retail accounts in greater Nashville to ensure that our brands are number one in each retail store. Beam Suntory is the third largest producer of distilled beverages worldwide, and awarded as one of Forbes List America's Best Midsize Employers.
Tell us about your family.
I have a dog named Brighton. My twin sister and little sister played soccer at Tennessee Tech University. My parents have been a great example on how to balance faith, work, and family in my career and life.