Everyday there is seemingly a new head coaching candidate that Bears General Manager Phil Emery is interviewing, but few have the track record or are as intriguing as Marc Trestman.
Trestman, the current head coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League, interviewed with Emery this past Monday in Chicago (h/t ESPN) and although unknown to many fans, he is highly regarded around the NFL.
He began his college playing career in 1975 with the University of Minnesota before transferring to Minnesota State for his senior season. He then spent time with the Minnesota Vikings in their training camp in both 1978 and 1979.
His coaching career began as a volunteer assistant at the University of Miami in 1981 and he was eventually named quarterbacks coach in 1983. During his time at Miami he was pivotal in the development of Bernie Kosar, who led the Hurricanes to a National Championship in '83 and was eventually selected as a first-round pick in 1985 by the Cleveland Browns.
He spent time with the Vikings and Buccaneers from 1985-1987 before reuniting with Kosar in Cleveland as their quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator for the 1988 and 1989 seasons.
He went back to the Vikings from 1990-1991 before taking a three-year break from the game before returning to the league in 1995, serving as offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers for two seasons. He once again moved on, taking the quarterbacks coach job with the Detroit Lions in 1997.
Stints with the Cardinals, Raiders and Dolphins from 1998 through 2004 saw him in the role of offensive coordinator in both Arizona and Oakland, while also serving as quarterbacks coach at each of those stops.
One of the highlights of Trestman's coaching career was the work he did with Rich Gannon in Oakland, particularly during the 2002 season. Trestman was promoted to offensive coordinator that season and the Raiders led the league in total offense while Gannon claimed the MVP award when he went on to throw for over 4,600 yards and 26 touchdowns en route to Super Bowl XXXVII.
He returned to the college ranks in 2005, serving as offensive coordinator at North Carolina State until the firing of Chuck Amato after the 2006 season.
He made the move to the CFL in 2008 and found immediate success, claiming two championships (Grey Cups) in 2009 and 2010 and has had his team in contention every season. He has gotten the most out of veteran quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who won back-to-back MVP's in 2008 and 2009 and has thrown for over 4,600 yards in each season under Trestman, most recently throwing for over 5,000 yards this past season at the age of 40.
According to his website, he has worked with many college quarterbacks as they prepared for the NFL draft such as Brandon Weeden, Brock Osweiler, Tim Tebow, Jimmy Clausen, Jason Campbell and most notably, Jay Cutler.
Cutler, in his weekly radio show, did not lean one way or another in regards to his experience with Trestman, saying (h/t Chicago Sun-Times):
That's kind of before you know what you like and what you don't like. I enjoyed my time with him, but I don't know what system he runs because he's been up in Canada, but he's been very successful there.
He has been successful everywhere he has been but has moved around a lot throughout the league because every head coach he has worked for has been fired even after Trestman came in and fixed their offense.
Steve Young, Bernie Kosar, Rich Gannon, Jake Plummer and Scott Mitchell all had some of their best seasons with him as either their offensive coordinator or quarterbacks coach. He helped a then 36-year-old Anthony Calvillo to have one of his best seasons in the CFL in 2008 and to have five of the most productive years of his career way into his late thirties.
In an interview earlier this week, Rich Gannon said of Trestman (h/t CSN Chicago):
He was smart, innovative, quarterback-friendly and pass protection-conscious.
A smart, innovative, quarterback-friendly coach who puts an emphasis on pass protection? Sounds like an intriguing choice for a Bears team that has lacked those traits for years.