Higgins takes reins

The Calgary Stampeders named Edmonton Eskimos coach Tom Higgins the team's new head coach and...

The Calgary Stampeders named Edmonton Eskimos coach Tom Higgins the team's new head coach and senior vice-president of football operations Friday. The team is under new ownership.(CP PHOTO/Jeff McIntosh)

RANDY SPORTAK, CALGARY SUN

, Last Updated: 11:57 AM ET

Three straight disastrous seasons doesn't mean the Stampeders can't be a Grey Cup contender again -- immediately, says the club's new football boss. Tom Higgins expects the Calgary Stampeders to quickly be back to the team he left behind more than a decade ago.

"I expect us to be competitive immediately, no ands, ifs or buts about it," said Higgins, who yesterday returned to take the reins as senior vice-president of football operations and head coach.

When Higgins headed to Edmonton just before the 1994 season, he left behind a Stampeders team in the middle of its best decade ever.

He's returned to a club that was last in the CFL with a 4-14 record, but that doesn't temper his enthusiasm.

"This ownership group is committed to putting the best product out on the field," he said.

Higgins' return -- he was with the Stamps both as a player and in several capacities as a coach -- was part of several changes.

Ted Hellard, part of the new ownership group, was named interim president.

Stan Schwartz, team president before resigning late in the 2003 season, has returned as senior consultant to the executive committee.

Jim Barker, head coach in 2003, is GM in charge of player personnel, and Denny Creehan is assistant head coach and defensive co-ordinator.

Derrell Moir, who spent eight seasons playing for the team, was named senior vice-president of marketing and operations.

Moir spent six years working as COO of Critical Mass, and most recently was in senior management at the Talisman Centre.

* More coverage in Sports P. 2-5


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