If you are familiar with Aggie Athletics, chances are you have heard of TexAgs.com. One of the main personalities behind the web based empire is Billy Liucci. We sat down with Billy to find out how he got started with TexAgs, why people love to hate on him, and much much more.
MW: How did you get started at TexAgs?
BL: I was coming out of A&M, about to graduate. I wasn’t real excited about just jumping into the workforce. All of my roommates at the time were playing football at A&M and still had a year or two left before they were going to graduate. I had been writing one article a week for a magazine called Aggies Illustrated.
Doug Walker, who is now an Associate Athletics Director for Communications at Alabama, was running the Maroon and White Report. A group of people came and asked me if I wanted to take it over for Doug because he was leaving A&M. I liked the idea because it was a reason to stay in town. I didn’t really think there was a career in it for me, but I loved football and writing and I wanted to stay in sports.
I quickly realized there was nothing in the market like it at the time. I noticed the desire that A&M fans had for any piece of credible information that they could get on Aggie football. I did that from my bedroom for about a year, and then the group that owned it was ready to sell. Hunter Goodwin and I got together and purchased the business. About a year later we joined with a fledgling website that was gaining popularity, but they didn’t have content or a revenue stream. That was TexAgs.com and the rest is history.
MW: Did you imagine you would be doing this when you were in school?
BL: I always enjoyed writing. I was hired by the late, great Homer Jacobs to write for Aggies Illustrated. When I would write stories I would think it was cool. But you don’t think there is a career in it. Then you just wake up one day and realize you are a writer.
MW: So, you are affectionately referred to as “The Source.” How do you feel about that? How did you get that nickname?
BL: I really don’t know how I got that nickname. It probably had something to do with Gabe Bock. He probably joked about it at some point. But then Aggieland Outfitters put it on a shirt. It kind of took off from there. I know Johnny Manziel liked it a lot. In fact, I remember being on the sidelines of the Chick-Fil-A bowl game against Duke. Johnny leads the Aggies in a big comeback. I saw him on the sidelines and congratulated him after the game. He told me, “I told you we could do it. You aren’t The Source, I am the source.” So it has been fun. There was a stretch where people would mess with me and call me that.
MW: So, with a reputation like that, let’s be honest. Do you have any social media stalkers? You know, the people that always have something to say when you put something out there?
BL: You know what, it is mainly twitter and they are usually Longhorns. There are some Aggie haters. I always joke that there are a couple of A&M fan sites that exist like an island of people that have been kicked off of TexAgs and as a result, hate either TexAgs and/or me. Of course everyone that gets kicked off of TexAgs wants to say it is censorship. Maybe it is just because you are being a jerk.
But I get those people on Twitter a lot. I know that no matter what I say, inflammatory or not, there will be people that come out guns blazing. I actually became a GIF after the Texas game in 2010 when Ryan Tannehill got late hit out of bounds right in front of me. I am yelling at the ref. It is one of those moments where I look back and think, I am on the sideline, I should be more professional, but whatever, stuff happens. So I yelled, “COME ON!” and someone made a GIF of it. So now anytime I say something people don’t like, that GIF will no doubt make it’s way into the conversation. But what those people don’t realize, I think that is hilarious. I am laughing with them, they aren’t laughing at me.
MW: Where are you taking in the game if you aren’t on the sideline that week?
BL: I usually look at the schedule and pick one road game to sit out. Sometimes that turns in to two, depending on how the season goes. Here is where I like to watch the game; with no people around me at all. I cannot watch an A&M sporting event with people, even good friends. I will get as critical as anybody. I like to be by myself. I literally will stand in front of my TV and if things are going good for the Aggies I won’t even change my foot placement. God forbid I need to take a bathroom break. That could change the momentum of the game.
MW: So when you take some time off, or you aren’t covering A&M athletics, what are you doing?
BL: I enjoy getting out of town. I love living in College Station for lots of reasons. It is centralized to everything. I love going up to Dallas or home to Houston. I love to just take a drive even if it is just to meet friends for dinner. You can also find me at sporting events all over. I get to use the connections I have made with this job, with Aggies and beyond. I think it is so relaxing and fun to go to games I don’t have to cover. During the off-season I like to travel. I was a little late to the travel game. I was always the guy that would stay in Texas and drive everywhere. But in the last few years I have had the chance to see a lot of North America. I love the beach: California, Mexico. But I still need to branch out more because I haven’t travelled overseas.
MW: Ok, so of all the trips you have taken outside of Texas, what is one of your favorite destinations?
BL: I had a really cool trip to Toronto a few years ago. But honestly, I love what southern California has to offer. I love going down there and doing a couple of days in LA and a couple of days in San Diego. Cabo is another great place. It was my first place to go in Mexico and I basically go every year now.
MW: Billy, inquiring minds want to know, are you seeing anybody? What is the relationship status?
BL: That is always a big mystery. I think I am way too picky with girls. It is not in a way that I think I am better, because most times I actually think the opposite. I think I am too old and set in my ways. But hey, if Maroon Weekly wants to set me up, I am always available. The problem is most girls in this town leave when they are 23. That doesn’t work for me anymore. Maybe I just need to travel more to Houston, Austin, LA, maybe I will actually find a date. That has helped lately as I have branched out of College Station.
MW: Your goatee is pretty famous. It has even been put on tshirts. So, shave your head or shave your face?
BL: I think I would have to lose the goatee. This is a nice head of hair. I basically keep the goatee out of spite at this point because so many people tell me to shave it. I think I am just raging against the rest of society by keeping it.
MW: What are “Liucci Nuggets” all about? Where did that come from?
BL: I guess posters on TexAgs were saying that I drop late night nuggets of information. I am a night owl. I work better at night. So people started to say if they stay up late they get some nuggets. Now it has morphed into this thing where every time I post something there are responses with pictures of chicken nuggets and stuff. It is just another funny thing the TexAgs community came up with and they take it and run with it.
MW: Ok, to wrap it up, what is next for you and TexAgs in 2017? Got any Liucci Nuggets for us?
BL: I can say this, I have a plan that is going to be great for the TexAgs community and Aggies in general. Not because of me, but the people I would be doing it with. I want to use the friendships I have developed to really bring something to the Aggie fan base and maybe even branch out past A&M. Just something fun and light, but also something that would be really interesting. So we are looking at doing some things this spring and during the off-season. I think not only will it be good for subscribers, it will be something new and fresh for me to do. Hopefully it will energize the film crew and me and it will be something fun.