The Chicago Bears hired Marc Trestman of the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes as coach to replace Lovie Smith.
Trestman, 57, returns to the National Football League after compiling a 59-31 record in five seasons in Montreal and winning Grey Cup championships in 2009 and 2010.
Trestman spent 17 years in the NFL as an assistant coach and tutored quarterbacks such as Steve Young and Rich Gannon, both of whom won NFL Most Valuable Player awards. Trestman was voted the CFL’s coach of the year in 2009 and helped quarterback Anthony Calvillo win league MVP awards in 2008 and 2009.
In moving to the NFL from Canada, Trestman follows the path of coaches such as Marv Levy and Bud Grant. Both led their NFL teams to Super Bowl appearances after coaching in the CFL.
Trestman has been out of the NFL for eight years, having been the offensive coordinator at North Carolina State in 2005-06 before going to the CFL in 2008.
The Bears fired Smith on Dec. 31 after a 10-6 season. Smith had been coach since 2004, leading the team to a 81-63 record, three division titles and a Super Bowl appearance after the 2006 season.
The Bears lost five of their final eight games this season following a 7-1 start and their offense ranked 28th out of 32 teams in total yardage.
Trestman’s last NFL job was as quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2004. He previously worked with the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals and Oakland Raiders, helping all those teams reach the playoffs in his first season as an assistant.
Trestman was offensive coordinator for the 49ers, Cardinals and Raiders, and will now seek to improve a Chicago offense led by quarterback Jay Cutler, a former first-round draft pick who passed for 3,033 yards last season, with 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.