Marc Trestman spent a little more than two decades serving various roles as an assistant coach on a good number of teams before finally getting a chance to become a head coach for the first time. Despite a lengthy coaching career in the NCAA and NFL, Trestman’s first stab at being a head coach would come north of the border in the Canadian Football League with the Montreal Alouettes in 2008. For Montreal, it was a home run hire as it brought two Grey Cup championships to the city and Trestman was named CFL Coach of the Year in 2009.

Despite a lengthy resume in the United States and a brief and successful run as head coach in the CFL, there appeared to be little interest in giving Trestman a head coaching shot in the United States. Was it just bad timing with the job markets among NFL and NCAA jobs, or was there something else to it? The Indianapolis Colts interviewed Trestman for their head coaching vacancy in 2012, but ended up going with Chuck Pagano instead. In 2013, Trestman interviewed for two coaching jobs with NFL teams; the Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears. The Bears ended up hiring Trestman in hopes his success at the CFL would translate to the NFL. To some, this relatively outside-the-box line of thinking for its coaching hire was seen as a bold move, leaving some to describe it as a “great hire.”

Harmon is right in saying Trestman does have a wealth of experience in the NFL to rely on. One of Trestman’s more recent claims to success at the time was his work in Oakland as a quarterbacks coach with Rich Gannon, who was named MVP and led the Raiders to a Super Bowl appearance. He also worked with Jake Plummer in Arizona and helped get the Cardinals to the NFC playoffs for the first time in 16 years. You may have heard of another quarterback Trestman had experience working with; Steve Young.

One of the reasons the Trestman hire was critically acclaimed in 2013 was how Trestman scouted. Coaching in the CFL left him with a shallower pool of talent to work with compared to the NFL. This is not a slight on the caliber of athletes the CFL has to offer, but the best of the best are playing in the NFL, so Trestman was expected to have a better mindset for working with and acquiring players that may fly under the radar.

One of the lone voices of reason chimed in with his concern, however…

Liking a coaching hire right out of the gate is one thing. There is much to be positive about when a team turns the page from one regime to the next. With Trestman being a new face in charge of the franchise, Chicago Bears fans felt a sense of freshness with the new-look Bears, but Trestman had yet to coach a game in January and February. The 2013 season started off as well as could be expected with a 3-0 start for Trestman, including a 40-21 win on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers. That’s when things got a little bumpy with just one win in the next four games, but a Monday night win in Green Bay suddenly had everyone in Chicago back on board, with some even dissing the man Trestman replaced, Lovie Smith, in the process.

One key thing to keep in mind about that Monday night matchup is Aaron Rodgers was injured early and attempted just two passes before leaving with a shoulder injury.

Trestman lasted just two seasons in Chicago, going 13-19. He was fired at the same time Bears general manager Phil Emery was canned by the franchise following the 2014 season.

I can’t help but wonder now if that unnamed starting quarterback was Rodgers. Trestman resurfaced in the NFL in 2015 as an offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens, where he would get to work with one of the top passers in the league not named Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.

The Trestman era in Chicago was short-lived and never met any potentially misguided ceiling placed on it. Somehow, though, the Cubs still ended up being happy.

Today, Trestman is back in the CFL as a head coach. The Toronto Argonauts formally introduced Trestman as their new head coach to the public today. Given Trestman’s previous success at Montreal, Toronto fans are now the ones holding out hope their new head coach will lead their team to a championship. Maybe they’re right, or maybe they are setting themselves up as Bears fans once did not that long ago.

About Kevin McGuire

Contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Previously contributed to Host of the Locked On Nittany Lions Podcast. FWAA member and Philadelphia-area resident.