Former CFL head coach Tom Higgins hired by the University of Alberta

The University of Alberta Golden Bears football program has made an off-season addition to their coaching staff naming Tom Higgins defensive coordinator.

Higgins is one of the most established coaches in Canadian Football, having extensive experience at both the university and professional levels.

He began his coaching career with the University of Calgary as their defensive coordinator in 1982, helping the Dinos capture the 1983 Vanier Cup.

Higgins joined the professional ranks in 1985 with the Calgary Stampeders, and spent parts of 25 seasons coaching in the Canadian Football League, including stints as head coach of the Edmonton Eskimos (2001-2004), Calgary Stampeders (2005-2007), and Montreal Alouettes (2014-2015).

“I have known Tom for close to 30 years and couldn’t be happier that he is joining our program,” Golden Bears head coach Chris Morris, who was coached by Higgins from 2001-2004 with the Eskimos, said.

“Tom is a man of impeccable character who will be a great role model for the young men on our team. In addition, Tom brings with him over 40 years of football coaching and administrative experience.”

Higgins also served as general manager of the Eskimos from 1997-2004 and was the CFL’s director of officiating from 2008-13.

Over the course of his CFL head coaching career, Higgins accumulated a record of 81-62-1 (.566 winning rate), claiming three division titles with the Eskimos and capturing the 2003 Grey Cup title in Edmonton.

Higgins returned to the Calgary Dinos in 2016, serving as their defensive coordinator. He will join a Golden Bears team that earned their second playoff berth in three seasons in 2019.

“It is with great pleasure that I have an opportunity to return to Edmonton and once again wear green and gold,” Higgins said. “I am pleased to be working with Chris Morris, a former player of mine, helping him continue to grow the Golden Bears football program.”

The Golden Bears finished with a 4-4 conference record last fall, before falling to the Saskatchewan Huskies in the Hardy Cup semifinal.

The Bears also enter 2020 following a massively successful recruiting season, which saw them earn the No. 1 recruiting ranking from Canada Football Chat thanks to the signing of 16 players ranked nationally in the top 100.

“Having coached both Vanier and Grey Cup championship teams, there are few people in the country who possess Tom’s extensive background in the sport,” Morris said.

“He is a tremendous addition to our program who will undoubtedly continue to build on the defensive improvements we made last season.”