Former Stampeders coach Tom Higgins, right, won CFL coach of the year honours in 2005. ((Troy Fleece/Canadian Press))

The Calgary Stampeders announced Thursday that coach and vice-president of football operations Tom Higgins will not return next season.

There was no immediate word on his replacement, but reports out of Calgarylast week suggestedformer Stampeders offensive co-ordinator John Hufnagel had agreed to a six-year deal worth $2.5 million US to become the team's general manager and coach.

"I'm a football person," said Higgins, who turned down an offer to become the team's executive vice-president. "I've been a football person all my life. I don't think I'm ready now to start dealing with public relations, the media and special projects.

"That doesn't fit my personality lifestyle choice as of right now. I like to be involved in football operations."

Calgary finished witha 7-10-1 recordthis season underHiggins, who joined the Stampeders prior to the 2005 campaign and was named coach of the year that seasonafter guiding the team to an 11-7 mark after three losing seasons.

Healso won the award in 2004 as bench boss of the Edmonton Eskimos.

Calgary fell 26-24 to the Saskatchewan Roughriders in theWest semifinal last Sunday.

The Calgary Herald reported Wednesday that Hufnagel would assume the club's reins following the 95th Grey Cup on Nov. 25 in Toronto.

He spent the last eight seasons in the National Football League, coaching Cleveland, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, New England and the New York Giants.

Hufnagel reportedly has numerous personal connections to the Stampeders' ownership group.