Tom Higgins was appointed as the Director of Officiating for the CFL on April 15, 2008.
Prior to joining the Canadian Football League office, Higgins spent more than 25 years as a player, coach and personnel director. Most recently, Higgins was the head coach of the Calgary Stampeders.
In his three seasons with the Stampeders, Higgins led the club to three consecutive playoff appearances. After an amazing turnaround season for the organization in 2005, Higgins was honoured with the CFL Coach of the Year Award for the second time in his career.
Before joining the Stampeders, Higgins led the Edmonton Eskimos for four seasons which included a victory in the 2003 Grey Cup at Taylor Field against the defending Grey Cup Champion Montreal Alouettes. It was the organization’s first championship win in a decade.
Higgins led Edmonton to two straight Grey Cup appearances and three first place finishes in the CFL West Division. In 2003 Higgins was recognized with the CFL Coach of the Year Award for the first time in his career. The previous season he was one of three finalists.
Tom, a native of Colonia, New Jersey, was named the Eskimos head coach on June 18, 2001. Prior to being named head coach, Tom spent four seasons as the club's general manager and chief operating officer. In 1993 Tom joined the Eskimos as assistant general manager.
Prior to joining the Eskimos, Tom worked for the Stampeders in various capacities including special teams coordinator, offensive coordinator and assistant head coach at various times during his time with the Stampeders.
Tom has been a strong supporter over the years of the Alberta Minor Football program and has been instrumental in organizing evaluation camps and high school clinics, as well as the Varsity Stars 2000 program for Canadian university football players. Tom has also been involved with Football 101 and 202 programs teaching the football basics to women in the community.
As a player, Tom was an All-Conference and All-American in both football and wrestling at North Carolina State and was captain of both teams. Coached by Lou Holtz, Tom participated in four consecutive bowl games.
His pro career started as a linebacker with Calgary in 1976. He then jumped to the Buffalo Bills under head coach Chuck Knox of the NFL before returning to Canada in 1980 with the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Tom’s father played in the NFL in the 1950s with Chicago and Philadelphia, followed by 45 years of coaching high school football.
Tom retired as a player in 1981 and moved into the coaching ranks at Calgary’s Crescent Heights High School. Tom coached with the University of Calgary from 1982 to 1984, helping the Dinos to two conference championships and the Canadian title in 1983.
Away from football, Tom is a highly sought after motivational speaker who works with business and community groups. Tom and his wife Sharon have three children Holly, Hillary and Thomas Russell.
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