Gilliland returns to West Alabama from Kennesaw State, where he was coaching quarterbacks. Previous coaching stops include Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern. He replaces Will Hall, who resigned to take a similar position at West Georgia.
"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."
"Brett Gilliland is a perfect choice for us. He knows where we are, but more importantly, where we want to go," Holland said. "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."
"I am very pleased to have a former Tiger coming home, especially one who brings the type experience and necessary skills to continue our success," Williamson said. "I am confident in Brett's ability to lead us to continued success, including the pursuit of a third straight Gulf South Conference championship."
The Tigers are coming off an 8-3 season and GSC titles in 2012 and '13. West Alabama led the conference last season in scoring offense, total offense, total defense, rushing offense, rushing defense, pass efficiency, first downs, first-downs allowed and third-down conversions.
"I am excited to meet the team and get to know each of them personally," Gilliland said. "It is also imperative that I jump on the recruiting trail to begin adding to what is already a strong nucleus."
Following his playing days at UWA, Gilliland began his collegiate coaching career as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech before moving on to the offensive staff Georgia Southern. While at Georgia Tech, Gilliland was a part of three Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division championships (2006, '08 and '09).
In 2007, Gilliland worked with Yellow Jacket quarterbacks after assisting with the receiving corps in 2006, including Biletnikoff Award winner and current Detroit Lions star Calvin Johnson. Gilliland coached the running backs for two seasons at Tech, a group that included Doak Walker semi-finalist Jonathan Dwyer. Dwyer was the ACC rushing leader and player of the year in 2008.
In three seasons at Georgia Southern, Gilliland worked with the running backs (2010), tight ends and tackles ('11) and wide receivers ('12). He took the recruiting coordinator duties following the conclusion of the 2011 season.
With Gilliland on staff, Georgia Southern posted a 31-12 (.721) overall record, won two Southern Conference titles (2011, '12) and made three consecutive NCAA Football Championship Series (FCS) semifinal appearances during Gilliland's time as an Eagle.
"I am very excited to be coming back to Livingston and the University of West Alabama," Gilliland said. "I spent four great years here as a player and made friends for life that I consider part of my family."
Gilliland was a regional finalist for the Harlon Hill trophy in 2003. He earned all-region recognition from the Football Gazette ('02). He concluded his career as the Tigers' single-season (3,213) and career passing yards (6,689) record holder.
At the conclusion of his playing career, Gilliland had posted four of the top-10 single-game passing performances in school history, including a then school-record 470 yards against Valdosta State in 2002.