The Ultimate Warrior: David Morrow

Beyond his resume, Morrow was an intimidating force for the Tigers. He spoke often during his playing days of having a chip on his shoulder because he was from Michigan and that he had to constantly prove himself to players from what was then the lacrosse mainstream of Long Island, Baltimore and upstate New York. He was as intense as any player who ever played at Princeton.

"You could see that David had some sass to him right from the start," says Tierney. "We've built our program with good soldiers in what we think is a great system, or at least we hope. But you also need guys who can go out and do their own thing. It takes a lot of nerve to do that. If you're not a risk taker at some point, you're not going to be that extra special guy. I wouldn't want to coach a team of 48 risk-takers, because then you just have out-of-control mayhem, but you definitely need somebody like that."

Beyond that, the titanium stick that he and his father developed finally went from prototype to usable model. Morrow and his teammates experimented with titanium during the 1992 season and used the sticks for the first time in the 1992 NCAA semifinal game against North Carolina, which Princeton won 16-14 as Morrow scored a pair of goals in transition.

Once Morrow graduated, he turned his attention full-time to moving his fledgling company forward. It started with small loan from his father and his college roommate, Bill Frist, whose father had started Hospital Corporation of America and whose uncle and namesake was a heart/lung surgeon who became a U.S. Senator from Tennessee.

"What we did originally was mail a sample to every college coach and then send them an invoice," he says. "We weren't sure what they were going to do. They all kept the sample, and all but one paid. From there, the orders started pouring in."

Morrow wasn't through with his playing career, as he competed with the U.S. national team at the 1994 and 1998 World Championships, both of which the U.S. won. It was with that 1998 team that Warrior took off.

"We got the sponsorship for the U.S. team that year because nobody else wanted it," he says. "We signed up for the full product line, but we didn't have any of the stuff yet. We had to go make it all. I was playing and practicing, but I also had to deal with everything that came up. We'd have practice, and I'd get a call that the jerseys were going to be late. That sort of stuff."

He gave up playing in 1998 to concentrate full-time on the business, and it skyrocketed as the product line grew and the marketing component kicked in.

"Our first ad was a picture of Jim Beardmore as he stood on top of a mountain in Colorado," Morrow says. "I didn't even know he was an All-America goalie [at Maryland; he is now the head coach of the Denver Outlaws of Major League Lacrosse]. An ad agency found him through a modeling agency. He was holding a stick over his head. He was screaming. He had the long hair. It was a very unusual approach, and it set the tone for how we've tried to position our brand. We've been taking chances ever since. We hope our product speaks for itself, but we also have a lot of fun marketing. We're trying to speak to the customer."

And in many ways, his customer is the newcomer to the sport, who these days is getting younger and younger.

"Where lacrosse is flourishing, other team sports are disappearing," he says. "Look at baseball. My high school doesn't even have it anymore, and there are a lot of places like that. Baseball is lacrosse's main competition for spring sports. If you hold it up to the six or seven-year old, there's no comparison. Lacrosse is much more active. It's much more dynamic. It's engaging every player on the field."

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