After 50 years the 1971 UWA National Championship class reunited to be inducted in Tigers Hall of Fame

This is the University of West Alabama’s first team that they have inducted into the Hall of Fame
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 6:03 PM CDT
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LIVINGSTON, Ala. (WTOK) - A long time reunion of brotherhood was in the making. After 50 years since the 1971 National Championship, the former University of West Alabama’s (formerly Livingston University) team was honored.

UWA has yet to get a National Championship for football since the 1971 team. So on the 50th anniversary of their winning season, the Tigers inducted them into West Alabama’s Hall of Fame.

“It’s special for UWA and the town of Livingston because of what this team and these guys and their families have meant over the last 50 years to Livingston,” said Brett Gilliland, current UWA football coach and son of Ronnie Gilliland. “Obviously it is special to me because these guys are my dad and what I consider a bunch of uncles because that’s the coolest part about this group. Just the Family attmosphere that they always had and the bond and brotherhood they’ve always had.”

While the 1971 has led the way for teams to try to get another championship, no one has done it yet. But they do see similarities from their team, in this years team.

Micky Andrews, former 1971 head coach said, “They already surpassed what we never accomplished. We never were 6-0.”

The closest they got to having an undefeated season was in their 6th game when they tied.

Even though 50 years may have passed, these guys are just as close now if not even more close since their time as Tigers.

“We loved each other” said former player Sam McCorkle, “And we cared about each other and we would fight for each other. We didn’t have any egos. Our offensive line were over achievers and we weren’t going to be beat. We were going to compete and we were going to work at it. We were not going to let each other down. I felt like, if I did my job, we had a chance at winning. I knew the guy on my right and the guy on me left was going to do his job and everybody else was going to do theirs. And I had confidence in them. So, I couldn’t let them down.”

Former coach, Jim King, said, “They’re my best friends. I’ve had trials and tribulations just like everybody and they’ve always been there for me.”

The Tigers did get their first loss of the season on Saturday losing to Valdosta State but they still made program history with their first ever 6-0 start of the season.

UWA will play Delta State in Livingston at 4 p.m. on Saturday.

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