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 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
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
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