2023 Valdosta State vs West Alabama

West Alabama Football In 2023: What To Know About The Tigers

West Alabama Football In 2023: What To Know About The Tigers

The University of West Alabama football team returns in 2023 as a member of the Gulf South Conference. Here’s what to know about the program.

Oct 3, 2023 by Matt Cannizzaro
West Alabama Football In 2023: What To Know About The Tigers

The University of West Alabama football team is coming off a down year by recent standards, but head coach Brett Gilliland has set the bar high and proven himself since taking the helm after the 2013 season.

Gilliland is set for his 10th season as the team’s head coach, and he has led the Tigers to a winning record seven times. Their 5-6 performance in 2022 matched his debut effort in 2014. Otherwise, they’ve won at least six games, including a Gilliland-best 10 in 2017.

In 2023, the Gulf South Conference will include nine teams (up from eight) and return three that finished with winning records in 2022. Among the returning teams are the University of West Florida and Delta State, which posted 6-1 records in conference play to share the Gulf South title. 

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West Florida finished 2022 with a 12-2 overall record, and Delta State was 11-2. UWF made the NCAA Division II semifinals, losing to eventual national champion Ferris State.

Gulf South football action will be streamed live on FloFootball and the FloSports app, including all of West Alabama’s Gulf South games.

Here’s What To Know About The University Of West Alabama Football:

What Year Did West Alabama Start Playing Football?

West Alabama is set for its 84th season of intercollegiate football. The first year of play was 1938, and the Tigers finished with a 2-2 record.

All-time, the Tigers are 340-441-18. 

A prior era of football at West Alabama started in 1931, when the school was known as Livingston State Teachers College. 

In What Division Of College Football Does UWA Play? 

West Alabama plays at the NCAA Division II level.

How Many Times Has West Alabama Football Made The Playoffs?

The University of West Alabama Tigers have been to the NCAA Playoffs six times (1975, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2017 and 2018) and own a 4-6 playoff record.

For much of the early football history at UWA, and until 1995, the school was known as Livingston State Teachers College or Livingston State College or Livingston University. 

The Tigers’ best postseason performance at the NCAA level was in 1975, when they advanced to the NCAA Division II semifinals, where they fell to Northern Michigan, 28-26.

Their last playoff appearance was in 2018. They lost to Bowie State in the first round, 41-35.

In 1971 and 1972, West Alabama made back-to-back appearances in the NAIA postseason. 

The Tigers made the regional championship both times and rolled to the NAIA Division I national championship in 1971 with playoff wins over West Liberty State (25-2) and Arkansas Tech (14-12).

In 1972, the bid for back-to-back national titles ended on a rules technicality. Livingston (now West Alabama) tied with Carson-Newman, but Carson-Newman advanced based on having “more penetrations within the 20-yard line.” CNU lost the title game to East Texas State (21-18).

When Did West Alabama Football Join The Gulf South Conference?

West Alabama’s football team joined the Gulf South Conference as a charter member in 1970 (as the football-only Mid-South Athletic Conference) and began play for the 1970 season.

With more teams and a new conference name in 1971, West Alabama (known then as Livingston University) shared the Gulf South Conference title with Troy State.

Has West Alabama Football Ever Won The Gulf South Title?

West Alabama has won the Gulf South Conference football title four times–1971 (shared with Troy State), 2012, 2013 (shared with North Alabama) and 2017.

The Tigers also claimed Alabama Collegiate Conference titles in 1940 and 1949.

Who Is The West Alabama Football Head Coach?

Brett Gilliland made a name for himself as a standout quarterback at the University of West Alabama (2000-2003) and eventually was inducted into the UWA Athletic Hall of Fame (2012).

Gilliland’s father, Ronnie, was a member of the West Alabama team that won the 1971 NAIA national championship, and that entire team was enshrined in the UWA Athletic Hall of Fame in 2021.

As the head coach at West Alabama, Gilliland is 57-36, which includes seven winning seasons in nine opportunities, a Gulf South title (2017) and two playoff appearances (2017 and 2018).

Gilliland’s last stop before returning to West Alabama was a stint at Kennesaw State, where he coached the quarterbacks. His career path also included stops at Georgia Tech and Georgia Southern. 

Who Is The University Of West Alabama Football’s Biggest Rival? 

The University of West Alabama and Delta State have a longtime football rivalry that began in 1940. 

The two teams have met 69 times, with DSU holding a 38-28-3 advantage in the series, including a pair of wins in 2022 (20-7 and 17-7).

Delta State has won the last four meetings, which ended a five-game losing streak to the Tigers.

Where Do The West Alabama Tigers Play Football?

Until 1952, the West Alabama Tigers played their home games at Livingston High School. After that, home became Tiger Stadium, which holds more than 7,000 people and is home to the football team and the men’s and women’s soccer teams.

Where Is The University Of West Alabama?

The University of West Alabama is in Livingston, Alabama, and was chartered in 1835 as a church-related female academy. The first students started in 1839.

In 1957, the legislature forced a name change to Livingston State College. As course offerings increased, another name change was needed in 1967 to Livingston University. 

Finally, in 1995, with the hope of appealing to and serving a wider demographic, the name was changed to the University of West Alabama. 

Notable University Of West Alabama Alums

Professional wrestlers Joshua Fatu and Jonathan Fatu, football coach Jeremy Pruitt, actress Lois Wilson, artist/sculptor Geneva Mercer, singer Jimmy Ellis, pro baseball standout Jeff Branson and collegiate basketball coach Tina Langley. 

Almost 20 former West Alabama Tigers have gone on to play professional football, including Ken Hutcherson, who was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in 1974.

West Alabama Football Schedule 2023

  • Aug. 31: Angelo State, 7 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Sept. 9: at Limestone, noon ET, FloSports
  • Sept. 16: at North Greenville, 7 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Sept. 23: Mississippi College, 7 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Sept. 30: Delta State, 5 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Oct. 7: at West Georgia, 6 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Oct. 14: West Florida, 5 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Oct. 28: at Chowan, 1 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Nov. 4: Valdosta State, 2 p.m. ET, FloSports
  • Nov. 11: at Shorter, 1 p.m. ET, FloSports