February 24, 2014

Back to the sidelines: Als name Higgins head coach


CFL.ca Staff

MONTREAL — Tom Higgins is moving back downstairs.

Monday, Montreal Alouettes owner Bob Wetenhall announced that Tom Higgins has been named the franchise’s 21st Head Coach.

“As I’ve expressed to the media in recent weeks, I wanted to continue with the formula which has brought us the success we’ve enjoyed these past 17 years; having a full-time Head Coach and a full-time General Manager to fill each of these positions,” declared Wetenhall.

“The criteria we established for our next head coach was to find an individual familiar with the CFL; someone with success in that position and a background as a position coach. In addition, we sought an individual with a record for molding and delivering championship teams. In Tom’s seven years as a head coach he won three Division Championships along with a Grey Cup, and twice earned recognition as the CFL’s Coach of the Year. His head coaching record of 72-53-1 speaks for itself. We welcome Tom to the Alouettes family.”

Higgins is entering his 23rd season as a CFL coach with additional years as an administrator. He began his CFL coaching career in 1985 as an assistant with the Calgary Stampeders. Prior to joining the Stampeders, he served three years on the coaching staff at the University of Calgary, working for Canadian Football Hall of Fame coach Peter Connellan and helping the Dinos to the 1983 Vanier Cup.

In 1994, Higgins moved to the Edmonton Eskimos as Assistant General Manager; assuming the title of General Manager and COO in 1997. In 2001, he began a four-year tenure in the dual capacity of Eskimos’ General Manager and Head Coach.

In 2005, he returned to Calgary as the Stampeders’ Head Coach, a position he held for three seasons. In 2008, Tom joined the CFL head office as Director of Officiating, stepping down from the post after the 2013 season.

Higgins played as a linebacker and defensive tackle at North Carolina State from 1973-75, before playing professionally with the Stampeders, Buffalo Bills and Saskatchewan Roughriders prior to launching his coaching career.

He was an all-ACC selection at defensive tackle in 1975, and was also a four-year member of the Wolfpack wrestling team, winning the ACC heavyweight championship in 1976.

“Tom is highly respected throughout the CFL and across Canada,” said Mark Weightman, President and CEO of the Alouettes.

“He is known as a great teacher, and as someone who holds himself to the same high standards he does his players. His body of work as a player, Head Coach, GM and senior league official reflects his contribution to the CFL. Tom has worked with and tutored many of the CFL’s finest quarterbacks – Doug Flutie, Henry Burris and Ricky Ray to mention a few. His expertise will be invaluable in the development of Troy Smith and Tanner Marsh.”