Adding to a lineage that began with George Halas when the NFL was born in 1920, Marc Trestman on Wednesday was named the 14th head coach in Bears history.
After 17 years as an NFL offensive coordinator and position coach, Trestman spent the last five seasons in the Canadian Football League as head coach of the Montreal Alouettes, compiling a 59-31 record and winning back-to-back Grey Cup championships in 2009 and 2010.
|Marc Trestman has had a great deal of success molding NFL quarterbacks.|
As an NFL assistant, Trestman routinely molded quarterbacks into much better players. He helped five different teams make the playoffs in his first year on the job: the Browns (1988), 49ers (1995), Lions (1997), Cardinals (1998) and Raiders (2001).
Trestman has reached the playoffs in eight of 17 NFL seasons, advancing to two conference championship games and one Super Bowl.
Trestman was San Francisco's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 1995 when the 49ers led the NFL with 457 points and 4,779 passing yards. He worked closely with a pair of Hall of Famers in Steve Young, who threw for 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns; and Jerry Rice, who caught 122 passes for an NFL-record 1,848 yards and 15 TDs.
Trestman was Arizona's offensive coordinator in 1998 when Jake Plummer passed for 3,737 yards and the Cardinals won their first playoff game since 1947 when they were the Chicago Cardinals.
As Raiders offensive coordinator in 2002, Trestman helped quarterback Rich Gannon earn NFL MVP honors after completing 67.6 percent of his passes for 4,689 yards with 26 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a 97.3 passer rating that's well above his 84.7 career mark.
Trestman, who turned 57 on Tuesday, grew up in Minneapolis and played quarterback for three years at the University of Minnesota and one at Minnesota State. He earned a law degree at the University of Miami, where he also began his coaching career in 1981.
Trestman last worked in the NFL in 2004, serving as quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach with the Dolphins. He spent two seasons as offensive coordinator at North Carolina State in 2005-06 before heading north of the border to join the Alouettes.
Trestman isn't the first coach to move from the CFL to the NFL. Following the same path have been Hall of Famers Bud Grant, who spent 10 seasons as coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers before joining the Vikings in 1967; and Marv Levy, who coached the Alouettes from 1973-77 before being hired by the Chiefs and later the Bills.
Neill Armstrong, who was Bears head coach from 1978-81, had served in the same role with the CFL's Edmonton Eskimos from 1964-69 before Grant gave him his first NFL coaching job as a Vikings assistant in 1970.
Even during his time in the CFL, Trestman continued to work with quarterbacks entering the NFL Draft, including the Bears' Jay Cutler and Jason Campbell.
Trestman replaces Lovie Smith, who was fired Dec. 31 after nine seasons as coach. Smith compiled an 81-63 record and led the Bears to back-to-back NFC North titles in 2005-06, but he failed to guide the team into the playoffs five of the last six years after reaching the Super Bowl in 2006.
Trestman will be entrusted with fixing a Bears offense that regularly ranked in the bottom third of the NFL in total yards under Smith, including 28th this season.
During a press conference Jan. 1 to discuss Smith's dismissal and the search for a new head coach, general manager Phil Emery said that his No. 1 criteria was someone who has demonstrated excellence in their role, whatever that role has been.
Emery also revealed that he was seeking a highly organized coach who possesses excellent leadership and administrative skills; who is meticulous enough to know minute details in the collective bargaining agreement; and who is upbeat and positive.
"I want somebody that has high energy, somebody that pulls people together in the building," Emery said at the time. "Whatever his personality subset is or however he approaches it, I want somebody to have some warmth that pulls everybody together in that we have synergy not only with our players but everybody in the building to work towards our common goal.
"I want somebody that's good on their feet. I think working with the media, not only in Chicago but in a national sense, is very important. I want this person to stand up and represent us well. It's a very tough job. It's very demanding. Wins and losses weigh heavily week-to-week.
"There needs to be a level of consistency in this individual in how he presents himself, not only when we're up but when we're down and how we're going to rebound from being down."