He has always been a Jerseyguy. Grew up on the Jersey shore, went to school at Rutgers, knows every every alternate route to Monmouth Park and has worked at only one place since he graduated from college–the Newark Star Ledger.
Tom Luicci has been around the Rutgers program in football and basketball for 39 years. He not only knows where the skeletons are buried, in some cases he may have precipitated the burial.
When Rutgers lost its chance to win the Big East title and the accompanying BCS bid which came with it last week with its loss to Louisville, Luicci, always looking a step ahead at divisional play in the Big East next season and a move to the Big Ten a year later, left the press box with this statement: “Rutgers will never win a football championship in my lifetime.”
Coaches, players, administrators have come and gone to Rutgers for the past 4 decades and there has been one constant: Tom Luicci, who is this week’s Jersey Guy of the Week.
It somehow seems fitting that Luicci earned the award following a close loss, which is eerily similar to Luicci’s experiences in the world of parimutuel betting.
Few people have had more winning horses. with less success than Luicci, who has a file full of stories about having live Pick 3’s, (winning three races in succession) with 6 of the 7 horses in the last race covered only to have the 7th horse win.
One time, following a tough betting weekend at the Preakness Stakes in Maryland, Luicci drove home and when he reached the Jersey border he had to come back through Pennsylvania to avoid the New Jersey Turnpike since he didn’t have enough money to pay the tolls.
But few people do a better job of reporting the news and taking facts and nailing his critics with their own words.
People at Rutgers are still shaking their head about a Luicci story a few years ago when Rutgers was unbeaten going into a game against Cincinnati. Then Rutgers coach Greg Schiano had made the blue-collar nature of his team a theme for the season, saying how they were like men who chopped down trees in workmanlike fashion and that Rutgers simply chopped away at its opponents.
When Rutgers lost–costing the Scarlet Knights another chance to get a BCS bid–Rutgers lead was simple. “Tim-ber”
One time Luicci was jousting in the paper at the job that then Rutgers athletic director Fred Gruninger was doing. Gruninger called the paper to ask for a correction, saying that he was the Director of Athletics, not the Athletic Director.
Luicci acknowledged the mistakes and proceeded to write, Fred Gruninger, D.O.A. in the next several stories.
There are Jersey guys and then there is THE Jersey guy who displays the true toughness, fairness and competitiveness of a Jerseyguy and no one does that better than Tom Luicci.
© 2012, Mark. All rights reserved.