Principal Figgins is a recurring character on Glee. He has appeared on the show since Pilot. He used to be the principal of William McKinley High School and had been for 27 years. He lost his position of being a principal for a short period of time during Season Two, with Sue Sylvester replacing him, but he returned to his job successfully. In Season Five, Sue took over his job once again due to her planting incriminating evidence in his office - pornography and gambling receipts. He was demoted to the position of school janitor. Prior to Loser Like Me, he was hired as a part time barista at The Lima Bean.
He is portrayed by Iqbal Theba.
Figgins was the principal of William McKinley High School, a job that he took very seriously. Although sometimes appearing unreasonable and a cheapskate, Figgins has the students' best interest at heart, as long as it doesn't cost the school too much money. He used to work for Mumbai Airlines, filming in-flight safety videos. He is highly religious, as seen in Showmance. He often uses the term "my hands are tied," usually when speaking to Will Schuester.
Principal Figgins works as the head of William McKinley High School. He is also in charge of handling the school's budget. As a result of constantly worrying about the school funding, Figgins comes off as unnecessarily cheap with the money. At the start of the series, Figgins is uneasy about the idea of allowing Will Schuester to restart the Glee Club, particularly after having to fire the previous teacher Sandy Ryerson, who had been caught by Rachel Berry touching a student inappropriately. However, Will argues his case, and Figgins agrees that if Will can form a group that will place at Regionals, he will allow the club to continue. If the group fails, it will disband.
Principal Figgins scolds Will in his office and gives him a list of the approved songs that the glee club can perform, which can only reference religion or have "balloons" in the title. Sue Sylvester, who runs the school's cheerleading group the Cheerios, becomes infuriated at Figgins taking money away from the Cheerios budget for the Glee Club, thus sparking Sue's hatred of the group and her constant scheming to have the group destroyed. Although Figgins does not particularly like Sue, he does seem more inclined to believe her and trust her judgment, due to the fact that she has brought the school a great deal of glory and prestige. However, Sue starts to damage their arrangement, when she blackmails him by saying she will post an embarrassing video of him doing a sock commercial for Mumbai Airlines on YouTube if he doesn't do as she says, such as rehiring Sandy as the school's head of arts. In the end this plan fails as Figgins puts the ad online himself, and gets a lacklustre response to it.
Figgins almost ends the Glee Club at the end of Mattress when the Glee kids do a commercial. In gratitude, the mattress store sent the kids a set of mattresses, which was considered payment and took away their amateur standing. Mr. Schuester however took the blame for getting the mattresses, and as a result he was fired from the Glee Club. Later in Sectionals, Will is rehired after Figgins discovers that Sue, in an attempt to again destroy the Glee Club, has given the Sectionals setlist to the opposing schools. As a result, he suspends Sue for 5 months, and Will is then rehired as the Glee club director.
It is revealed Figgins believes Tina Cohen-Chang is a vampire, based on her gothic style of dress, so he orders her to find a new style. Later in the episode, Tina successfully pretends to be a vampire in order to threaten Principal Figgins into letting her dress how she wants.
Figgins plans on expelling Puck and Finn after they slash the tires of Vocal Adrenaline's Range Rovers, but Shelby Corcoran tells him that she does not want Puck and Finn expelled. After Shelby, Finn, and Puck agree that Puck and Finn will get jobs to pay for the damages, Figgins hits on Shelby. He compliments her on her attitude and her looks. This causes Shelby to walk out of his office.
Figgins is convinced by Sue into giving the glee club one more year, with the hopes that Sue would quit blackmailing him.
Figgins is seen in his office and introduces Coach Beiste to Sue and Will. He defended Beiste from Sue and Will when they were angry about having their budgets cut, due to the reform of the football team that came with the new football coach.
Figgins gets sick due to Sue's scheming and Sue takes over as principal. Happy about Sue's stance on junk food (outlawing tater tots), the school board fires Principal Figgins and hires Sue as full-time principal. However, Sue announces in Furt that she is resigning to protest the rescinding of Dave Karofsky's expulsion, allowing Figgins to return to his position.
He is seen when New Directions sings Welcome Christmas, in front of the teachers to raise money for the homeless children. Figgins stands up and put some money into a bag to help.
He briefly appears in this episode to inform Sue that she cannot fire anyone out of the cannon without their consent.Tik Tok. When Brittany vomits because of alcohol consumption, he calls New Directions to his office where he congratulates them for their highly effective fake vomit skit, not realizing it was actual vomit.
Figgins gives Karofsky the green light to start the Bully Whips, and comes with him to apologize to the glee club.
Figgins asks Will for the New Directions to perform at prom. Originally, he declines, but Figgins persuades him to make it happen.
Figgins is seen trying to deal with Will and Sue, who are once again starting war over the Glee Club. He does not speak.
Figgins plays a minor role during this episode in a meeting with Mike Chang and his father. Mike's father expresses concern over Mike receiving an A- on his Chemistry quiz, and speculates that his son must be on drugs. Figgins offers a counterargument, stating that Mike is one of McKinley High School's star pupils. Figgins later expresses his contempt for Tina, saying that "Tina Cohen-Chang and her vampire ways have no place in this school."
After a slanderous episode of Sue's Corner in which Sue publicizes the budget for the school's production of West Side Story ($2,004), Figgins finds himself in hot water. McKinley High parents are outraged at the amount of money being put toward the musical rather than educational classes, prompting Figgins to cancel the performance. Figgins then informs Will that the musical may continue only if Will is able to raise the necessary funds on his own. Burt Hummel Is able to get the money from Lima's Funeral owners, keeping the musical.
Figgins returns once again. The race for McKinley High's new class president has come to a close, and Kurt is the apparent winner by 190 votes. However, this number of votes is larger than the number of students in the Senior class, meaning that the ballot box was stuffed. Figgins is initially suspicious of Kurt, seeing as the box was rigged in his favor, but Rachel later comes forward, confessing that she was the one who stuffed the box. Figgins has no choice but to put the incident on Rachel's permanent record, in addition to suspending her for a week and banning her from competing at Sectionals.
Figgins receives a complain about Will's teaching from Santana. He advises Will that a tenure position has opened up, and he needs to be a better Spanish teacher to receive it. Figgins suggests learning Spanish. Later, he receives a complaint from Becky about Sue losing her focus on the Cheerios. He then has Roz Washington demonstrate some new moves with the Cheerios. At the end of episode, Figgins gives tenure to Emma because of her popular pamphlets.
Figgins sees Brittany and Santana's kissing in the hallway. He takes them to his office and tells them that he has received complaints about their PDA in public. Santana counter-argues, saying that straight couples are seen kissing all the time, and that they are never persecuted for their PDA. He says he doesn't mind, but he doesn't want to offend anyone. Santana is still offended though and storms out of his office.
After Karofsky's attempted suicide in On My Way, Figgins, Sue, Beiste, Will and Emma meet in Figgins' office to discuss how to handle telling the students. He doesn't want to start a suicide epidemic with the students.
Figgins appoints Roz Washington as co-coach of the Cheerios which angers Sue. Sue and Figgins later propose a deal, if the New Directions win Nationals, then Figgins will promote her back to her position of the only coach of the Cheerios.
Figgins tells Brittany she needs to contribute to the school as Class President or he will discontinue the Senior Class Presidency, but Brittany says that she does want that to be her legacy. He tells her that she could contribute by planning the Prom. Later he dances around to the What Makes You Beautiful performance. At the end of the prom, he announces that there aren't snakes in the school's toilets any more and he introduces last year's Junior Prom Queen Kurt Hummel and then announces Finn and Rachel as Prom Royalty.
After winning Nationals, Finn and Rachel, the Prom King and Queen, are sent to his office. Figgins tells them that he wants New Directions to sing at the next assembly. The assembly is in the Auditorium, where Mr. Figgins finally gets the control of the microphone and gives it to Finn and Rachel, who announce the Teacher of the Year Award winner, Will Schuester.
Roz proposes to Sue in Goodbye that they should unite forces against Figgins, because she thinks he's a bad principal. Later, in the graduation, Figgins is seen calling out the names of the graduates, while Emma hands them their diplomas.
Gimme More. As their terrible performance ends, Figgins looks back to Will, who is holding his head in anger and embarrassment. Unique portraying Rizzo in the Grease musical. Principal Figgins clearly doesn't understand. Figgins thought Unique is a young (cisgender) woman. Then he says, "she's a brickhouse Sue," which means that Unique is a strong sexy woman. Figgins is shocked when Will (transphobicly) says that she is a "guy," referring to Unique's assigned gender at birth. He is then shown with disbelief throughout Finn and Sue's conversation. Again, Sue comes in to the choir room asking them to go to Figgins office. The issue this time is about Finn taking over glee club. Sue argues that he just graduated and doesn't have the necessary requirements to be a teacher. Figgins then tells Sue that it is a co-curricular activity and that the club only needs an adult. Another reason Figgins agreed is because of the fact that Finn will be doing it for free. Sue got hysterical saying that her detante with the arts will be over if they still proceed with Finn taking over glee club. Sue leaves with rage, throwing things on the desks as she leaves, and pushing students blocking her way. Figgins shouted at her, saying that Sue is the menace in the state of Ohio. Rob and Betty Adams, Unique's parents, visited McKinley after Figgins congratulated them for Unique getting the role of Rizzo. The couple were scared that Unique might be made fun of and with her safety in the school. Sue appears telling them that Unique has been assaulted in the hallway. Unique's parents tells them that they already talked to Unique that she needs to stay wearing boy's clothes during school hours but can present femininely as long as she is at home. The meeting was adjourned and Figgins tells Unique to go back to her sewing exam in Home Economics.
Figgins witnesses Sue, Will and Finn discuss the fate of the Glee Club. In the end, Finn gives in and hands the key to Sue and says he'll tell the kids the outcome.
He calls both Sam and Brittany to the office, telling them they got high and low SAT scores. Sam seems hyped but is shocked to discover he got the lowest and Brittany got the highest. Figgins says that he is sure that Brittany cheated, but she explains how she did it. As Brittany tells Sam that he can just use his body instead of his brains, he doesn't have to go college. But she goes on to say she'll go to Harvard and other colleges as she is evidently one of the smartest people in America. This makes Principal Figgins facepalm himself.
Principal Figgins is first seen outside the school as Tina approaches him, and asks him to let her in, to which he says he can't do anything. Figgins appears again when Sue talks to him about what she did and why she had a gun. He says his hands are tied and he has to follow rules and report her to the police.
Principal Figgins announces the black out at the school and says that it is not an emergency, and school can carry on as usual. Later, Becky comes to him because she has been making fart noises everytime Coach Roz does something. She tells him that she just wanted to talk to him. They talk off-screen. At the end of the episode Principal Figgins announces that the cause of the black out was a balloon stuck to an electric socket.
Figgins is stripped of his principal duties after Sue plants incriminating evidence in his office. The police arrest Figgins and he takes a job as the janitor. Sue, the new interim principal, picks on Figgins by spilling a bucket of expired meat on the floor of a hallway, but he promises her that justice will be made.
Figgins has a very brief appearance in this episode. He is shown in the audience when Sue announces Prom Queen and King, and again next to her when Tina gets Carrie'd.
Figgins appears for a short time in this episode. He is first seen admiring Finn's memorial in the McKinley hallways. He watches on as Bree and Santana argue over the candles being taken away due to the request of Principal Sylvester. Santana asks Figgins why he can't stop Bree and the other Cheerios from taking the candles and he explains to her that he is no longer Principal and Sue is.Sue appears. She tells him to do it the best he can, but Figgins responds he's already done his best. Sue compares this situation to his time while he was Principal: he did his best, but it wasn't good enough. He also appears back in a flashback that Sue has, when she explains to Becky why she wears tracksuits during 1986. He's the one to wake up Jake from his gas induced hallucination after the Glee Club meeting. He is seen being responsible for detention, and calls it "The Beck-fast Club" because of Becky who is in detention often. He later appears when the School Board arrives to the school. Figgins tells them that there was a gas leak in the Choir Room and tries to blame Sue, but Sue interrupts him and says she had previously solved the problem. She goes on to say that it was his job as the janitor to fix the gas leak, and cuts his pay in half.
Sue creates her band of "idiots" to help her judge and decided who wins the role of senior valedictorian. He is only seen briefly during this scene when he starts to cry during both Artie and Tina's speeches.
It is revealed that Mr. Figgins sent flowers to Rachel for her opening night on Broadway.
It is revealed that Figgins has taken a job as a part-time barista at The Lima Bean after Sue cut his janitor's wages. He is seen taking Rachel's order when she's at the coffee shop with Blaine. He recognizes Rachel in her disguises, although she wants her presence to remain a secret. He then offers to pay for her coffee, then goes on to tell her that her epic failure helped him realize the positive side of his situation.
In the auditorium, Kurt talks Principal Figgins about the gum under the chairs and he states how he shouldn’t blame him, but the parents. Blaine walks in, stating how he can’t find Sam and Rachel for the piano lesson. Figgins says he saw them in the courtyard, believing that its another glee club romance and leaves. Furthermore we learn, that he has a sister, Abigail Figgins Gunderson, who´s principal at Carmel High School.
Figgins gives Sue funding for the Cheerios!, and Sue asks what is going on with Will and the glee club, and clarifies that she wants the Cheerios! to remain the stars of WMHS. Figgins agrees with her, and mocks the interest of the youth in music.
Later, Emma approaches Figgins about Will leaving the glee club and the school. Figgins says his hands are tied but offers Emma the 1993 Nationals footage, which she later shows to Will.
Figgins is present during the rededication of the auditorium and is seen enjoying and performing during the I Lived performance, as the song, episode and ultimately, the series, ends.
Figgins, although at times hard headed and penny-pinching, is by no means a bad guy in the school. For the most part he is a reasonable administrator whose chief concern is the smooth running of his school and what is best for the students. He also says that he wants a safe and stable learning environment for everyone in the school. Of course, if he can save money, he's more inclined to do that. Figgins does his best to make everyone happy, suggesting many compromises and for the most part offering people second chances, rather than just outright punishing them. It's revealed that he goes to therapy, which is why he's so willing to do this, as he wants everyone to be nice to each other. He will often invoke his therapy in his administrative methods, such as making Sue and Will hug after they have a blow out argument. In Theatricality, it is discovered that he has an irrational fear of vampires. He tells Tina not to dress in a goth fashion, so she tells him that if he does not let her dress like a goth, her father will bite him.
Figgins is unfortunately easily bullied by Sue, who often uses blackmail to get what she wants. This usually plays into her favor for a period of time, until Figgins can at last build up the courage to take away her power. For example, a questionable video she got access to, he in the end put it on YouTube himself before she could. Another example is his willingness to confess to his wife about a supposed one-night stand with Sue, rather than let Sue use it as blackmail.
Overall, Principal Figgins is caring about the school, staff, and students and pursues his passion – but his weak spot is that he is easily blackmailed by Sue and even Tina Cohen-Chang. He is seen to be slightly slow to the truth.
Mrs. Figgins is Principal Figgins' wife. She briefly appeared in The Purple Piano Project, shown sleeping next to Figgins whilst he watches Sue's Corner on the news.
- Main article: Figgins-Sue Relationship (Sueggins)
Although they have not had an actual relationship, after being suspended, Sue took Figgins out to dinner with Figgins assuring her he wasn't going to back down about her suspension. Sue then proceeds to slip a date-rape drug into Figgins' champagne after which he wakes up in bed naked, next to Sue, who then threatens Figgins to tell his wife about their 'night'. Whether she actually had sex with him is unknown, as she was shown wearing her tracksuit. Following the New Directions' loss at Regionals, Sue relinquished this blackmail in exchange for giving New Directions another year.
- He had been Principal for 27 years (1986-2013) when he was discharged between the events of All or Nothing and Love, Love, Love.
- He has been blackmailed twice by Sue.
- He believes vampires are real, and still believes Tina is one. (Theatricality)
- He once modeled for a Mumbai Air video demonstrating how to put on anti-clotting stockings. (Preggers)
- He calls Ke$ha as "Ke-Dollar-Sign-Ha."
- His email address is GettinFiggywithit@aol.com and his password is "1234." (Funeral)
- He wears Drakkar Noir cologne (revealed in Blame It on the Alcohol).
- In his early 20s, he liked to dress up as Elvis Presley.
- The door of his office opens to the inside and the outside.
- He's not a good actor (as seen in Welcome to McKinley).
- His favourite band is Air Supply, and the New Directions are his second favourite. (Prom Queen)
- Said he would rather see Brittany and Santana kissing in the hallways than Finchel. (Heart)
- Is a Christian.
- Figgins makes a cameo appearance in The Glee Project's second season music video for Here I Go Again and We Found Love.
- Is implied to smell like curry. (On My Way)
- His secretary is named Donna.
- He is often seen to change and not enforce rules. At first the only songs that the glee club were allowed to sing were about Jesus and balloons, but then they are not allowed to sing religious songs. He also says the school has an anti-bullying policy, but this is rarely enforced because there is a lot of bullying.
- Up until The Role You Were Born to Play, he thought Unique was a cisgender woman.
- Almost all of his scenes are located in his office.
- It is shown that he became Principal in 1986, and stayed until he was fired. (Puppet Master)
- Iqbal said that Figgins is supposedly from India and how he got the name Figgins is still a mystery. Source
- Iqbal said that he would choose Principal as Figgins' first name. Source
- Coincidentally, in The Hurt Locker, Part One, it was revealed his first name is really Principal.
- His sister is also a principal, but at Carmel High School.
- Main article: Figgins' Quotes