Brilliant returns to New Mexico State for his 18th year of coaching the NM State women's golf team after leading his team to its 14th appearance in the NCAA Regional Tournament in May, 2011.
Brilliant teamed up with co-head coach Jackie Booth to bring home WAC Co-Head Coach of the Year honors, it is safe to say the NM State women's golf team was successful during the 2010-11 season. The co-head coach honor was only one of the awards NM State received under Brilliant in 2011. Brilliant also led Suteera (Pang) Chanachai and Demi Mak to first team All-WAC honors. Mak also earned WAC Freshman of the Year and was the first Aggie to receive the award since Chanachai in 2008.
Under Brilliant, the Aggies made a hard charge to a WAC Championship but finished with a three-round score of 886 to mark the third time in six years NM State finished second at the WAC Championship.
The WAC Honors came throughout the season under Brilliant including two golfer of the week honors. Chanachai earned the honor for the week of April 4-10 after she posted a career-best 67 in the second round of the Wyoming Classic, where she finished tied for third. Mak also earned WAC Golfer of the Week honors after her play during the week of March 21-27. The freshman won the BYU at Entrada Classic that was held in St. George, Utah, March 21-22. Mak shot a 2-over par 218 (74-74-70) to win the tournament by four strokes.
One of the biggest highlights for Brilliant during the 2010-11 season came in October when the team won the 2010 Price's "Give 'Em Five" Intercollegiate, which was being held at the NMSU Golf Course, with a team score of 2-over-par 866. It is the first time since 2006 NM State has won its home tournament as the Aggies beat out 13 other teams from across the country.
The Aggies placed fifth in the 2010 WAC Championship marking the second-consecutive year NM State placed fifth in the conference. Brilliant helped guided Mint Swaschuto
The 2010 season saw the Aggies play in nine tournaments under Brilliant as the team averaged 315 stokes per round. Former Aggie Maggie Murphy was the only player to play in all 27 rounds NM State participated in and averaged 79.79 strokes per round. Pang Chanachai had the lowest average with 77.75 strokes per round in 12 rounds played.
The 2009 season saw Brilliant guide the Aggies to five top-10 finishes including a second-place finish at the Baylor Spring Invitational, March 16-17. He helped Chanachai to a second-place finish at that tournament as well. Under Brilliant, she also had a fourth-place tie at the 2008 Price's "Give 'Em Five" Intercollegiate. Chanachai led her team during the 2008-09 season with an average of 75.59 strokes per round. With the help of Brilliant, Maggie Murphy and Ashley Elias showed strides with the second and third best averages on the team at 78 and 79.84, respectively. He coached the three Aggies to top-20 finishes in the WAC Championship, while Suteera (Pang) Chanachai earned All-WAC honors in 2009 for the second year in a row.
Brilliant was rehired as the head coach of the women's golf team, July 14, 2006, in effort to bolster the women's golf program. Brilliant served as NM State's first women's golf coach from 1982-1992 and returned to his alma mater to replace Joann Cox, who retired, June 30, 2006. Despite a 14-year hiatus from the collegiate game, Brilliant has continued to coach and mentor young golfers.
During Brilliant's second season, he looked to build his team around young talented players after losing two-time All-WAC selection and 2004 Sun Belt Champion Lehua Wise (Lihue, Kauai, Hawai'i) and 2007 second team All-WAC selection and 2004 All-Sun Belt selection Inah Park (Richamond, B.C.). Wise and Park were the top two finishers for the Aggies in every tournament in the 2006-07 season, while Wise won the Price's "Give 'Em Five" Intercollegiate in Las Cruces. Brilliant's team came together to win the Price's "Give 'Em Five" Intercollegiate at the NMSU Golf Course. The Aggies started the final day of play in second place, just two strokes behind Missouri. The Aggies carded a 26-over-par 890 and finished six strokes ahead of Baylor, which finished in second.
Brilliant coached former Aggie and current professional golfers Alena Sharp, Kelly Cavanaugh and Rachel Bailey when they joined the professional ranks. In Sharp's first season as an exempt player on the LPGA Tour, she competed in 13 tournaments and earned $52,452 in career winnings. At the time, she ranked eighth on tour in driving distance (269.3) and tied for 20th in green in regulation (1.78).
Bailey, who graduated from New Mexico State in 2003 with a bachelor's degree in marketing, has been a member of the Duramed FURTURES TOUR for four seasons. She recorded her best career finish with a tie for third at the 2006 Louisiana FUTURES Classic in Lafayette, La. Bailey was one of nine players who competed on the Golf Channel's reality show Big Break VI. Cavanaugh, who joined the professional ranks in 2003, has been a member of the Duramed FUTURES TOUR for two seasons. That year Cavanaugh played in 10 events while making five cuts.
Brilliant also has connections with 2000 NM State graduate and former player, Gwladys Nocera who was on top of the 2006 money list of the Ladies European Tour.
Brilliant has also spent five years working as the short game coach for former Aggie and 2002 PGA Champion Rich Beem.
A 1999 and 2005 inductee of the First Community Bank/NM State Athletics Hall of Fame, Brilliant was also inducted into the National Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2000. Two years later, Brilliant was elected a lifetime member of the National Golf Coaches Association and in 2003 he was the recipient of the PGA Lifetime Achievement Award (Sun Country Section).
During his decade as head coach, Brilliant was responsible for building the NM State women's golf team into one of the premiere collegiate programs in the country. A four-time High Country Athletic Conference Coach of the Year, Brilliant led the Roadrunners to a trio of High Country Athletic Conference titles and three trips to the NCAA Championships (1988, 1989, 1991). Under Brilliant's guidance, the Roadrunners garnered three All-America honors and 19 all-conference accolades.
After finishing third or better in their first three High Country Athletic Conference Championships, Brilliant and the Roadrunners broke through with the team's first ever win at the 1986 High Country Athletic Conference Championships in Provo, Utah. The conference title was also the first for a NM State women's sports program. The Roadrunners' second win came the next year as NM State took home the title at the Lady Ram Invitational in Fort Collins, Colo.
Brilliant continued to elevate the Roadrunners' level of play as NM State posted five top-three finishes during the 1987-88 season, including a win at the Susie M. Berning Invitational in Norman, Okla. NM State also made history that season as the team hosted and advanced to its first NCAA Championships in school history.
A year later, Brilliant and the Roadrunners recorded another first in program history as NM State posted two wins in a season. After winning the Diet Coke-Roadrunner Invitational to begin the season, NM State took home its second High Country Athletic Conference title before advancing to the 1989 NCAA Championships in Palo Alto, Calif. The following fall, Brilliant's Roadrunners became the only NM State sports program in school history to be ranked No. 1 in the nation.
In 1990-91, the Roadrunners moved into the Big West Conference and quickly made a name for themselves as NM State won back-to-back tournaments to open the season and had three players named first team All-Big West. The Roadrunners finished second at their first Big West Conference Championships and advanced back to the NCAA Championships for the third time in four years.
In his last season at NM State during his first stint, Brilliant led the Roadrunners to four top five finishes and four all-conference selections, including Tina Drabble who was a first team pick for the second straight year.