Tom Higgins (Canadian football)

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Tom Higgins
Date of birth (1954-07-13) July 13, 1954 (age 62)
Place of birth Woodbridge, New Jersey
Career information
CFL status International
Position(s) LB
Height 6 ft 2 in (188 cm)
Weight 235 lb (107 kg)
College North Carolina State
High school Colonia
Career history
As administrator
19941996 Edmonton Eskimos (Asst. GM)
19972001 Edmonton Eskimos (GM/COO)
20012004 Edmonton Eskimos (GM)
20082013 CFL Director of Officiating
As coach
1982–1984 University of Calgary (DC)
19851987 Calgary Stampeders (DL coach)
1988 Calgary Stampeders (OL coach)
19891990 Calgary Stampeders (OC)
19911992 Calgary Stampeders (DL coach)
1993 Calgary Stampeders (Asst. HC)
20012004 Edmonton Eskimos (HC)
20052007 Calgary Stampeders (HC)
20142015 Montreal Alouettes (HC)
As player
19761978 Calgary Stampeders
1979 Buffalo Bills
1980 Saskatchewan Roughriders
Career highlights and awards
  • Grey Cup champion As HC 2003; as AC 1992
  • Vanier Cup champion 1983
Awards 2003 Annis Stukus Trophy
2005 Annis Stukus Trophy
Career stats

Thomas Joseph John Higgins, Jr. (born July 13, 1954) is a former head coach in the Canadian Football League (CFL). Higgins previously served as the Director of Officiating for the CFL and is a former Canadian and American football player, coach, and general manager.

Early years[edit]

Higgins, the son of a former Philadelphia Eagles tackle, Tom Higgins, Sr., was a high school football standout at Colonia High School in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey.[1] He played linebacker at North Carolina State University. He was an All-American and was a starter in four consecutive bowl games. He was also an All-American wrestler at NC State.

Professional playing career[edit]

After graduating from college in 1976, Higgins attempted to enter the National Football League, but was not selected in the 1976 NFL Draft. He instead played in the Canadian Football League with the Calgary Stampeders for three years. In 1979, Higgins was signed by the Buffalo Bills and played one year in the United States, before returning to Saskatchewan Roughriders in the CFL.

Coaching career[edit]

After retiring as a player, Higgins began coaching at the University of Calgary, winning the 1983 CIS title in the second of his three years as an assistant coach under Canadian Football Hall of Fame coach Peter Connellan.[2] In 1985, Higgins joined the Stampeders coaching staff, serving in many different capacities until becoming a head coach in 2001.

Higgins became head coach of the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos later that year, leading the team to the playoffs in each of his four seasons. In 2002 and 2003, he won division titles, and he won a single Grey Cup as a head coach, with the Eskimos in 2003.

In 2005, he returned to the Calgary Stampeders as head coach. He held this position for three years, making the playoffs in each, but with the team's record also declining each season. He was fired after a first round loss during the 2007 playoffs.

Higgins served as the CFL's Head of Officiating from April 2008 to December 2013.[3]

Higgins was hired as the new head coach of the Montreal Alouettes on February 24, 2014, succeeding Jim Popp who took over from Dan Hawkins during the 2013 season.[4] On August 21, 2015, Alouettes ownership relieved Tom Higgins of his coaching duties and brought general manager Jim Popp to the bench for the fourth time. .[5]

CFL coaching record[edit]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Result
EDM 2001 9 9 0 .500 1st in West Division 0 1 Lost in Division Finals
EDM 2002 13 5 0 .722 1st in West Division 1 1 Lost in Grey Cup
EDM 2003 13 5 0 .722 1st in West Division 2 0 Won Grey Cup
EDM 2004 9 9 0 .500 2nd in West Division 0 1 Lost in Division Semi-Finals
CGY 2005 11 7 0 .611 2nd in West Division 0 1 Lost in Division Semi-Finals
CGY 2006 10 8 0 .556 2nd in West Division 0 1 Lost in Division Semi-Finals
CGY 2007 7 10 1 .417 3rd in West Division 0 1 Lost in Division Semi-Finals
MTL 2014 9 9 0 .500 2nd in East Division 1 1 Lost in Division Finals
MTL 2015 3 5 0 .375 4th in East Division 0 0 Fired
Total 81 62 1 .566 3 Division
4 7 1 Grey Cup


He has a wife and three children, one of whom is also named Thomas. His two others named Holly and Hilary. His brother, Dan Higgins, played football at North Carolina State, as well. He is currently the head football coach at Piscataway High School in New Jersey. Tom and Dan's father, Tom Higgins, played in the NFL for the Chicago Cardinals and Philadelphia Eagles. Tom Sr. was a legendary coach at Piscataway High School prior to his son, Dan, coaching there. Tom Sr. resides in Piscataway with his wife, Sedora.


Preceded by
Don Matthews
Grey Cup-winning head coach
91st Grey Cup, 2003
Succeeded by
Pinball Clemons