In one of the more unusual coaching moves during this year's hiring cycle, the Bears dipped into the CFL ranks to hire a head coach, although Marc Trestman has been a familiar face in the NFL.
The Bears hired the two-time Grey Cup winning Trestman away from the Montreal Alouettes. Trestman, who was 64-34 in five years as head coach, is a former NFL offensive coordinator who has worked with Rich Gannon, who won the 2002 MVP with the Raiders while working with Trestman, Scott Mitchell and Jake Plummer. Trestman, 57, was Bernie Kosar’s quarterbacks coach for the University of Miami.
Trestman was also an offensive coordinator with the 49ers and quarterback Steve Young, although he was not well-regarded by the staff. After the 1996 season, when the 49ers fired George Seifert and hired Steve Mariucci as his replacement, a reporter asked about Trestman, the offensive coordinator the previous two seasons. Team owner Ed DeBartolo grabbed the microphone and said, “He’s gone.”
Young, however, spoke positively about Trestman in recent interviews and gave a vote of confidence during the Bears’ coaching search.
Trestman’s next project will be a daunting one: working with mercurial quarterback Jay Cutler, known to chafe under coaches he doesn’t particularly like. But Alouettes general manager Jim Popp expressed confidence in the coach.
“The skill set that Marc has, being an offensive mind, and then his great relationships that he's had with quarterbacks historically in the NFL and the work he's done with them makes him a good fit for the job,” Popp told the Chicago Tribune.
The GM also believes coaching in the CFL won’t hurt Trestman.
“A lot of guys want to be head coaches,” Popp said. “Some leave the NFL to go to NCAA schools, and then once they've proven themselves, all of a sudden those college coaches are some of the hot commodities to be an NFL coach. It's no different. Coach Trestman has run a professional team as a head coach for five years. He's had a winning record for five years. He's proven himself as a head coach at a professional level. You can call it what you want, but on-hand training as a head coach and proof goes a long way, goes a real long way. You can't replace that.”
Trestman replaces Lovie Smith, who was fired after a 10-6 season in which the Bears failed to make the playoffs.
Trestman's hiring leaves the Eagles, Jaguars and Cardinals as the three teams without a head coach. The Eagles yesterday interviewed Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who was expected to interview today with the Jaguars. The Cardinals have asked the Colts for permission to talk to Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians. The team has already interviewed Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton.