The Chicago Bears fired Lovie Smith this season, despite going 10-6 and narrowly missing a post season berth. He also led the the Bears to a Superbowl against the Indianapolis Colts. It was only the second Superbowl appearance for the storied franchise.
And now they’ve found their replacement head coach in a somewhat unlikely place, the Canadian Football League. They picked Marc Trestman of the Montreal Alouettes.
They interviewed 13 candidates for the job, and 3 got second interviews. Colts’ offensive coordinator and at times interim head coach Bruce Arians and Seahawks offensives coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Personally, despite what seems like an unconventional choice for coach I am intrigued by this pick. I’m not a fan of hiring coaches who have already won a Superbowl based on this statistic: no head coach has won a Superbowl with two franchises. That immediately takes Jon Gruden, Brian Billick, Bill Cowher all off the table.
Head coaches from a great “coaching tree” seem to do well. Bill Belichick won Superbowls under Bill Parcells as a defensive coordinator for instance.
But I can’t think of the last time I heard of a Canadian Football League coach being hired for an NFL head coaching spot. He doesn’t have an unattractive resume though. He has won back-to-back Grey Cups and touts a 65-34 record during his 5 year stint in the CFL, proving himself a winner.
Trestman was a coach a quarterbacks coach at the University of Miami in 1983 and helped Bernie Kosar lead the Miami Hurricanes to a National Championship. But his success wasn’t limited to college. In the NFL he coached Kosar, Steve Young, Scott Mitchell, Jake Plummer and Rich Gannon when he won an MVP award in 2002 as an Oakland Raider.
“One thing about him that is a strength is his ability to listen,” Gannon said. “He takes feedback. Marc has always been the type of guy who can sit down with you and talk about things. What do you like about this? What don’t you like? His feedback is excellent. And he has an ability to be honest with you. Somebody needs to be honest with Jay Cutler.”
This makes Trestman an offensive guru somewhat who gets the most out of his quarterbacks. The Chicago Bears feel like they have a quarterback who hasn’t reached his full potential in Jay Cutler. And out of the 3 finalists for the job, they all had offensive backgrounds.
“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,” Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said.
“A lot of guys want to be head coaches. 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 is no stranger to Cutler. Leading up to the 2006 scouting combine Trestman worked with Cutler as a consultant.
His familiarities with the Bears don’t end there. He was almost hired to be the Bears’ offensive coordinator in 2004 by Lovie Smith. Smith chose Terry Shea instead.
But Trestman has been a quietly hot commodity this offseason interviewing for the Cleveland Brown’s head coaching vacancy and the Raiders’ offensive coordinator spot.