After a back to back GSC, our Tigers are under a new staff of assistant coaches and will be led by fellow Tiger Brett Gilliland, who holds a previous passing record as a Tiger quarterback and is also an inducted member of UWA’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
“Brett Gilliland is a perfect choice for us. He knows where we are, but more importantly, where we want to go,” said President Richard Holland. “It’s very important that he has that vision for UWA and I am convinced he is the right choice to take us where we want, and need, to be.”
Previous Head Coach Will Hall accepted a new job shortly after last season’s final game and is now the Wolves head coach at West Georgia. The Tigers will adjust to the new program and prepare for their upcoming season, which according to Gilliland will not be a disappointment.
Football has been an influence on the Tiger Alumni ever since he played ball for his dad at Escambia High School in Pensacola, Fla. He advanced to college level ball at UWA. Gilliland contributed to the program as a student athlete in the early 2000’s. He achieved UWA’s highest GPA on the football team in 2001 and 2003 and was a two-time member of the GSC academic lists. After his four years on the field, Gilliland rounded up a 6,689 passing record for his UWA athletic career.
During his previous four years of coaching at Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern, Gilliland has been a part of 42 wins, three conference championships and three semifinal appearance in the FCS playoffs. He has had success as an athlete for UWA and has high hopes for his upcoming season taking on a different role as head coach.
“Three traits of champions that will be core values for our program,” Gilliland said, “are Toughness, Humility, and Effort.” Winning is a high desire for most coaches, but Gilliland sees past them and wants his players to be able to put others above themselves and be able to deal with adversity and prosperity with great character.
“I want to thank Dr. Richard Holland, Stan Williamson and the Board of Trustees for giving me this opportunity,” Gilliland said. “This is a great opportunity for me to lead this football program into the future and build on the success that it has already been having.”
Gilliland promised that fans will see “an exciting team on offense and defense. A team that plays extremely hard and is much disciplined.”
Along with Gilliland, UWA has added a few new faces to the football program. Previous West Georgia coach, Roberto Pinilla, will lead the Tigers defensively as UWA’s new defensive line coach. West Georgia is Pinilla’s home college, where he led the Wolves as team captain with a career total of 167 tackles.
“Roberto is a great teacher and communicator,” Gilliland said. “He will bring excitement and enthusiasm into our program daily.”
Familiar face Michael McCarthy will return as UWA’s receiving coach. “Coach McCarty is a true Tiger and a tremendous asset to our program,” Gilliland said. “His knowledge of this university and his work ethic makes him a valuable part of our staff. It is nice having another product of this great university here with us.”
From Shorter University, Nathan Burton has been hired as the new defensive coordinator. Burton has previously coached for Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech. His defense was ranked second in the GSC in 2012 and averaged 18 sacks for the season. “Nathan’s work ethic and style of coaching will be a great addition to the UWA family. We also are excited to welcome his wife and children into our community,” Gilliland said. “He builds great relationships with the student-athletes and truly cares for them as individuals.”
Not only are there new faces on the coaching staff, but also the roster. Previous Wildcat Daryl Collins has transferred from The University of Kentucky and has been signed to be a West Alabama Tiger as a wide receiver. He played 12 games as a redshirt freshman during his 2012 season. He totaled 171 yards from only seventeen passes and will bring his talent to Tiger stadium for the upcoming season.
“Daryl Collins is an extremely exciting player,” UWA head coach Brett Gilliland said. “We are thrilled to have his playmaking ability in our program and I know he will be a great fit on and off the field.”
With the new additions and returning record breaking players, such as Kyle Caldwell, Javae Swindle and kicker Marcus Grant, success is in the Tiger’s future. Spring training is around the corner.