MANAHAWKIN, NJ - Dan Higgins was a 2 sport athlete at Southern Regional High School participating in football and baseball and has just returned to his hometown of Manahawkin after finishing his college and professional career to start his new business venture, Higgins Passing Academy.
As a junior at Southern, Dan played an integral part in the football team’s 2011 “A” South Championship & NJSIAA SJ Group IV playoff team. In his senior season he helped lead Southern to the 2012 NJSIAA South Jersey Group V Sectional Final where the Rams fell to Williamstown.
Coach Donahue Sr. said Higgins was "Bright, tough and a leader. Loved the grind it takes to play the position."
Dan holds numerous career and season records in football at Southern Regional High School in Passing Yards, Passes completed and TD Passes thrown.
Southern Regional Football records by Dan Higgins – (Class of 2013) – Southern Regional “Athletic Hall of Fame” (Class of 2018)
Career Passing Yards: 3,281
Career Passes Completed: 220
Career TD Passes Thrown: 33
Season Passing Yards: 1918
Season Passes completed: 116
Season TD Passes Thrown: 19
“Dan had an outstanding high school, collegiate & professional career. He is a fierce competitor who has a tremendous work ethic. Dan always gave your team a shot to win,” Southern Regional Athletic Director, Donahue Jr. said.
Dan went onto play football at Bridgewater State University and break numerous records for the Bears.
"College was an unbelievable experience," Higgins said. "I was able to play at a great school, Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, MA at which I played all 4 years, with 3 years as starting QB. I was fortunate enough to be named team captain, win a Conference Championship, Cranberry Bowl MVP (2015) and make it to an NCAA playoff appearance. My senior year I was also awarded the Tom Cook award presented to the most outstanding football player on and off the field. I am very grateful and honored to have received this prestigious award."
After graduation Dan had the opportunity to play professionally in Europe for the Copenhagen Towers of the Denmark American Football Professional League. Dan lead Copenhagen to the “Mermaid Bowl” in the (DAFPL) during the 2019 season.
Higgins said, "Playing overseas in Copenhagen, Denmark was a once in a lifetime experience and will forever be a memory that I have for the rest of my life. Not only the football aspect of it, but also living and experiencing a different culture for seven months. I lived in Denmark which was a beautiful country and I was also able to visit Sweden and Germany. While playing in Denmark I was able to bring my knowledge as well as learning from the coaches and players that also had professional and college experience from the states and from all around Europe."
Now that Higgins has returned home he is continuing his career in football by training athletes through his passing academy.
"One of the inspirations to starting the academy was my friend and college quarterback Coach Mike McCarthy," Higgins said, "he created M2QB academy located in Massachusetts."
Higgins spent the past three years training local quarterbacks and working camps for M2QB and decided he wanted to take it to the next level and start his own academy back in his hometown.
"I love giving back and teaching the skills and knowledge I have learned to the younger generation. I have played this game for many years and have a very strong passion for it." Higgins told us.
Higgins Passing Academy is a Quarterback development and mentoring program for youth, high school and college athletes. This program focuses on upper and lower mechanics, footwork, different types of throws, ball placement/ timing, coverage recognition and throwing from the pocket and on the run. The main goals and focus will be to enhance the client's physical and mental abilities that come with being a quarterback. While also helping to teach them the leadership and responsibility on and off the field.
Higgins dedicates a lot of his success to his coaches.
"Coach Donahue Senior has been a huge influence on me, not only about football but everyday life. He did a phenomenal job of teaching me the meaning behind, dedication, hardwork and leadership. Along with the rest of my high school, college and pro coaches. They all have taught me different ways to not only be a great quarterback but also a great leader on and off the field. I could not thank all of my coaches that I have crossed paths with enough for all the dedication and lessons they have given to me over the years."
Football has impacted Higgins life in so many ways.
"The lessons that I have learned on the field have translated to my everyday lifestyle. I do everything with heart, I dedicate myself and time to make sure the tasks I need to do are completed to the best of my ability. Whether it is at work, helping a friend or working on things for Higgins Passing Academy."
He continued, "The number one thing that has stuck with me throughout my playing career is do not listen to outside noise. To play within yourself and your team because the only opinions that matter are from your brothers lined up to the left and to the right of you."
You can view Higgins Passing Academy by visiting his instagram page @higgins_passing_academy for testimonials and videos sessions with clients.
Since we're currently in the middle of a pandemic, Higgins is working with clients through virtual training sessions.
"During these tough times I am still working with my current clients via virtual training. I am creating programs individually fitting the specific players needs and skill set. I am also working online clinics with coaches around the country, talking and discussing all aspects of the game."