- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears ended their search for a new coach early Wednesday morning when they made the decision to bring aboard the Montreal Alouettes' Marc Trestman as the franchise's 14th head coach.
A noted quarterback guru, Trestman has been an assistant with eight NFL teams but has been out of the league for eight years. His stint in the CFL began in 2008 and eventually led to his succeeding Lovie Smith, who was fired by the Bears on Dec. 31.
In addition to his duties as a coach, Trestman works during the offseason to prepare college quarterbacks for the NFL draft. Trestman worked with Jay Cutler and Bears backup Jason Campbell before their respective drafts.
Cutler was ecstatic Wednesday that Trestman will be his new coach. Cutler said that working with him before the draft, "you could just tell how knowledgeable he was about the quarterback position and offense in general," according to the team's website.
"It's a great hire. I couldn't be more excited. He's been successful wherever he's been," he said, according to the team's website.
Trestman will bring in former Saints interim head coach Aaron Kromer as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach, a league source told ESPN.
The Bears replaced departed special-teams coach Dave Toub on Wednesday with Joe DeCamillis of the Cowboys in the same position with the added title of assistant head coach.
"I'm glad to have the opportunity to get there. I think it’s obviously a great situation," DeCamillis said. "Dave (Toub) has already got the thing going; great tradition there. You've got awesome pieces to work with. So I’m excited to get there for sure."
As of mid-morning Wednesday, the assistant coaches remaining from Smith's staff hadn't yet learned their fate. According to one of the assistants, none of them have been contacted by the team and there are no meetings scheduled for them at Halas Hall. It's likely most of the assistants remaining from Smith's staff won't return.
But according to one of the candidates that interviewed for the head coaching job, general manager Phil Emery indicated he'd like to bring back defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to maintain continuity on a defense loaded with veteran players and three Pro Bowlers in cornerbacks Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings and defensive end Julius Peppers.
"Phil loves (Marinelli), and I can see why watching all the Bears games," a source said. "The guy is a stud. The key is to get Rod back; not because he's under contract, but because he wants to work for you."
Receiver Brandon Marshall, like his quarterback, was excited about the Bears' choice of head coach.
"I absolutely love the hire," Marshall told the Chicago Sun-Times, "and the few guys I've talked to love it too. Hearing from guys who have played for him and been around him, he's a guy that's innovative."
The Bears scheduled an 11 a.m. news conference on Thursday to introduce Trestman.
Trestman, 57, recently signed an extension with the Alouettes that takes his deal through 2016, but it's likely he'll be allowed out of his CFL contract to join the Bears, according to a source.
Trestman is coming off an 11-7 season in the CFL. In five seasons with the Alouettes, Trestman led the team to three appearances in the Grey Cup, including consecutive championships in 2009 and 2010, in addition to being been named CFL coach of the year ('09).
Brian Bratton, one of Trestman's players with the Alouettes, gave a glowing endorsement of his former head coach.
"After being coached by Marc Trestman for the past five years I can without a doubt say he is one of the best coaches I have ever had. His constant pursuit of perfection will lead him to continued success in the NFL. He's a coach that believes success is in the quality of the details, and that humble, hard-working approach will give you a chance to succeed at the professional level," said Bratton, the 2013 Tom Pate Award winner and two-time Grey Cup winner under Trestman.
Trestman interviewed for the second time with the Bears on Monday at the end of a process that included 12 other known candidates. Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was among the finalists, along with Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, who worked with Trestman in 1995-96 in San Francisco, gave a strong endorsement for the coach Tuesday during "The Waddle and Silvy show" on ESPN 1000 in Chicago.
"Marc was still a young coach (when he worked in San Francisco). I thought he was (a) phenomenal coach," Young said. "What he is is a phenomenal offensive mind. He's a great game-day playcaller. I had Mike Holmgren, I had Mike Shanahan and Marc Trestman, and I would put Marc right in there. He's learned and grown, and I stay in touch with him. I don't know exactly why (he hadn't gotten a head-coaching job).
"He is thoughtful (person). He's not gonna scream at people. He'll get after people, but he's got a great stick and a carrot. That's what I think is great coaching: somebody who can understand the different gears and leverages that you have against players to make sure they're focused and ready to play football. So I don't know exactly why, but it's time. I thought it was time five to 10 years ago."
Despite Trestman's recent history in the CFL, he also has considerable experience in the NFL, where he has worked on staffs tutoring quarterbacks such as Young (49ers from 1995-96), Rich Gannon (Raiders from 2001-03) -- who was named the league's MVP in 2001 -- and Bernie Kosar (1989). Trestman also worked in 2007 with the New Orleans Saints as a consultant.
Other NFL stops for Trestman include Minnesota (two stints), Tampa Bay (1987), Detroit (1997), Arizona (1998-2000) and Miami (2004), as well as the University of Miami (1981-84), where he received his law degree.
Trestman spent 2005 and 2006 at North Carolina State before leaving in '08 for the CFL.
Receiver Tim Brown, who was with the Raiders when Trestman was the team's offensive coordinator, wasn't as high on the coach as Young, however.
"I don't want to say it was a joke, but I just never saw Trestman as being a head coach," Brown said Wednesday on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000.
Trestman took over as Raiders offensive coordinator before the 2002 season. Brown had posted nine straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons, a run that ended under Trestman when Jerry Rice took over as the team's leading receiver and Brown finished with 930 yards.
Brown said there's no question Trestman can run an effective offense. It's running an NFL locker room that gives Brown pause.
"He's a really smart guy, knows football like the back of his hand. That's not the issue," Brown said. "But there's a lot more to coaching than just Xs and Os. You have to be able to deal with players and that's the reason (former Raiders coach) Bill Callahan hasn't succeeded as a head coach because he's a smart guy, knows football like the back of his hand, but when it comes to leading me it's a totally different intangible you have to have. It's going to be very interesting to see how (Trestman) and Jay Cutler get along, that's for sure."
Young, however, said he expects Trestman and Cutler to click. Early in his career in Denver, Cutler worked with Shanahan -- the current Redskins coach -- who also tutored Young in San Francisco. Young's past experience with Trestman leads him to believe that Cutler shouldn't have a problem working with the former Alouettes coach in Chicago.
Young played 23 games in 1995 and 1996 working with Trestman in San Francisco, and passed for 34 touchdowns with 17 interceptions.
"Mike and Marc aren't exactly the same personalities, but they get to the same place," Young explained. "Mike's a predator. I'd say the same about Marc, but you wouldn't know it ahead of time, just different. I like them both. I love Mike Shanahan, trust me. But I would put Marc right in there."
Young said it's time Cutler worked with a quarterback guru such as Trestman, but he stressed the importance of the Bears quarterback being receptive to the coaching he'll now receive.
"There's a lot of great athletes in the NFL, and one of the things that keeps them from getting to their full potential is this idea that 'I'm such a great athlete, I just go out there and play. I'm that good,'" Young said. "Some of them are that good but never reach their full potential unless they go to school, especially quarterbacks. So if you have a willing participant in Jay Cutler and Marc Trestman, it could make some good music."
One of the candidates to interview for the position early in the process came away from his meeting with Chicago expecting the club to now hold Cutler to a higher level of accountability, in addition to administering some tough love to the quarterback, who has underachieved with the Bears.
The candidate said, "The person I spoke with said that is the plan."
The coach acknowledged that out of the candidate pool of potential Bears coaches, Trestman appeared to be the best suited to handle the job of elevating Cutler to prominence.
Young expects Cutler to thrive under the tutelage of Trestman.
"Jay's now old enough to see. I've got to believe that if someone came in and, in a resonant way, could speak to him … that he would respond to that," Young said. "Why wouldn't you respond to that? I think he's ready for it. Part of it is just work. Part of it is really boring. It's like going to law school or med school: a lot of study. What I'm saying, to make the transition, and this is the most difficult part is you've got to turn the TV off. You've got to stay inside. You've got to put up your white board. You've got to memorize things. You have to get so you have reflexive recall. When you have reflexive recall, and you own all the data, you become Peyton Manning and Tom Brady."
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter contributed to this report.