Marc Trestman becomes Bears 14th head coach
BY SEAN JENSEN email@example.com January 16, 2013 4:12AM
FILE - In this July 16, 2012 file photo, Montreal Alouettes head coach Mark Trestman speaks to reporters at a news conference in Montreal. The Bears have hired Trestman to replace the fired Lovie Smith, hoping he can get the most out of quarterback Jay Cutler and make Chicago a playoff team on a consistent basis.(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Ryan Remiorz, File)
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Updated: January 23, 2013 6:34PM
The Bears are counting on Marc Trestman becoming another successful NFL coach who built a reputation in Canada.
At 4:12 a.m. Wednesday morning, the Bears announced an agreeement with Montreal Allouettes head coach Marc Trestman, making him the 14th coach in franchise history.
He’ll be introduced at a press conference at 11 a.m. on Thursday at Halas Hall.
Trestman, who turned 57 Tuesday, spent the previous five seasons as the head coach of the Allouettes, leading the CFL club to Grey Cups.
But the native of St. Louis Park, MN, built his reputation in the NFL working as an assistant for eight different clubs over 15 seasons, including several stints as an offensive coordinator. His most recent NFL stint, though, was in 2003, as the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach of the Miami Dolphins.
Trestman also has worked extensively in preparing young quarterbacks for their rookie NFL season, including Jason Campbell and Jay Cutler.
He’s known for running a West Coast offense and emphasizing protecting his quarterback.
“Every quarterback who has played for him has gotten better,” former NFL MVP Rich Gannon said. “If you ask me if there’s one thing Chicago needs, it’s someone to get Jay Cutler back on track. If you look at [Cutler’s] footwork and ball-handling, he has major issues.
“Some fundamental things have slipped by the wayside because he hasn’t been coached properly. Marc could come in there and get him straightened out.”
Ryan Karhut was an offensive lineman who was on the Allouettes when Trestman arrived.
“We heard he had NFL experience, but we weren’t too sure about him,” Karhut said. “But it was pretty obvious he knew what he was talking about.
“He understands football on a whole other level. It was neat to hear him talk and break things down.”
Karhut was on the Allouettes in 2008, when Trestman turned a .500 club into a championship contender. The Allouettes, though, lost in the title game.
The next season, they won their first of two consecutive under Trestman.
“He’s a difference maker for all the right reasons,” said Karhut, who suffered an injury and wasn’t on either Grey Cup championship winning team. “He’s all about football, and he cares.
“A lot of people say they care about football, but he truly cares, and it shows every day.”
Trestman played quarterback at the University of Minnesota but finished his collegiate career at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He attended law school at the University of Miami, where he served as a volunteer assistant coach.
In 1983, he was named the school’s quarterbacks coach and helped direct the Hurricanes to their first-ever National Championship. Under Trestman’s tutelage Hurricanes quarterback Bernie Kosar was selected in the first round of the NFL Supplemental Draft by the Cleveland Browns.
In 1985, Trestman got his first NFL coaching job under Bud Grant as the Vikings’ running backs coach. In 1988, he reunited with Kosar in Cleveland, helping the Browns to two playoff appearances including the AFC Championship Game in 1989.
In 1990, he rejoined the Vikings as quarterbacks coach, working with Gannon, then he headed to the San Francisco 49ers, where he worked under George Seifert as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
In 1995, the 49ers had the No. 1 scoring offense (28.6 points per game) and passing attack (288.0 yards per game) in the NFL. That season, Jerry Rice broke the NFL record for receiving yards with 1,848, a mark that stood until Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson broke it this season.
“I think Marc is a strong candidate because he has a history of working with veteran [quarterbacks],” Allouettes general manager Jim Popp recently told the Sun-Times. “Marc has as good a chance as any to get the best out of Jay.”
Popp projected Cutler could be a top-10 quarterback under Trestman.
Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell were also brought in for second interviews.