NEWS

Tom Higgins to return to CFL coaching with Alouettes: report

02/24/2014 03:04 EST | Updated 04/26/2014 05:59 EDT
It appears Montreal Alouettes general manager Jim Popp won’t gamble on a first-year CFL coach with his next hire.

A tweet on Monday from Gazette reporter Herb Zurkowsky in Montreal suggested former Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders bench boss Tom Higgins would take over from Popp on the sideline for the 2014 season.

He added an announcement could be made later Monday or Tuesday.

Popp stepped in last August after he fired rookie head coach Dan Hawkins, who coached the Alouettes to a 2-3 record. Montreal looked disorganized and lifeless under Hawkins, who was coaching a professional team for the first time in his career.

Last December, the 59-year-old Higgins stepped down as the CFL’s director of officiating after serving in that role since April 15, 2008.

Higgins spent more than 25 years as a player, coach and personnel director prior to joining the league’s head office.

He coached the Eskimos for seven seasons from 2001 to 2007, winning a Grey Cup in 2003.

Higgins is a two-time recipient of the Annis Stukus Trophy as CFL coach of the year, having won the award in 2003 and 2005 with Calgary.

During his playing days, Higgins was a linebacker with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Stampeders in the CFL. He also played the position with the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.

Last season, Montreal finished third in the East Division with a 8-10 record, going 6-7 under Popp, whose CFL regular-season coaching record is 16-20. He also has a 1-4 mark in playoff games.

In the 2001 season, Popp took over from Rod Rust and replaced Don Matthews during the 2006 campaign. He stayed in the job to coach Montreal to an 8-10 record in 2007.

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