Kleven column: Trestman lands dream job with Bears
Chicago Bears new head football coach Marc Trestman, 57, has come a long way since I first covered him during his high school athletic career at St. Louis Park High School.
Trestman was an impressive athlete starring in football as a quarterback and defensive back. He also displayed his athleticism as a member of the Oriole basketball team.
But what impressed me most about my initial encounters with Trestman 40 years ago was his character. He was a polite, intelligent and charistmatic person at the young age of 17. And I noticed that Trestman retained those impressive personal traits in the many conversations and interviews I had with him after he graduated from Park High. He went on to play football at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Moorhead and I stayed in touch with him as he began his coaching career.
Trestman went on to attend graduate school at the University of Miami and pursued a law degree. He became a graduate assistant Hurricanes coach under Jimmy Johnson. Trestman coached quarterbacks at Miami and developed Bernie Kosar into a Heisman Trophy candidate and helped the Hurricanes win a national title in 1983.
Trestman remained in coaching at the college and pro levels throughout the next three decades. He has served as an assistant NFL coach with the Vikings, Tampa Bay, Cleveland, San Francisco, Detroit, Arizona, Oakland and Miami. And he was an assistant at North Carolina State.
Head coaching break
Trestman finally got the opportunity to be a head pro coach with the Montreal Alouettes from 2008-12 and guided that team to Grey Cup titles in 2009 and 2010.
Trestman’s squad advanced to the CFL playoffs five straight seasons.
NFL ownerships must have taken notice of Trestman’s CFL coaching feats because the Cleveland Browns and Bears interview him recently as a candidate for their head coaching vacancies.
Trestman learned he was being offered the Bears’ head coaching job in the early morning hours Jan. 16. And he was introduced the next day as the 14th head coach in Chicago Bears franchise history.
His parents Jerry and Sharon still live in the Twin Cities metro area and were “very proud” of their son’s coaching hire when I contacted them two days after he accepted the position.
The Bears and Trestman should be a good fit. Chicago’s offense needs to improve and Trestman has always been an innovative offensive coach who should get the most out of the Bears’ starting quarterback Jay Cutler. Apparently, Trestman will call offensive plays next season.
Trestman could have remained in Montreal for a long time as the Alouettes head coach. But he couldn’t step away from fulfilling his dream to be a head NFL coach. There will be pressure on Trestman to make the Bears into a perennial playoff contender. But Trestman has never shied away from hard work or a challenge.
New athletic conference?
Conversations continue regarding the possibility of a new high school athletic conference involving Sun-Current and Sun-Sailor schools.
Athletic directors from Bloomington Kennedy, Bloomington Jefferson, St. Louis Park, Richfield, Cooper, Chaska, Chanhassen and Waconia have been discussing the pros and cons of forming a new conference.
Chaska and Chanhassen have pushed for this new conference alignment because they want to leave the Missota Conference.
This new league might present many competitive advantages for Kennedy, Jefferson, St. Louis Park and Richfield athletic teams because those schools face enrollment disadvantages in their respective South Suburban, North Suburban and Classic Suburban conferences.
Aldrich to be honored
Former Bloomington Jefferson all-state basketball player Cole Aldrich will have his jersey number 45 retired during a halftime ceremony of the Jefferson/Apple Valley game at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15.
Aldrich is currently playing for the Houston Rockets after getting traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Three other Jefferson players have had their numbers retired.
Those honorees were Steve Lingenfelter, now an assistant coach at Shakopee, Mike VandeGaarde, scout for the Philadelphia 76ers, and Kevin Lynch, youth basketball camp director and basketball analyst for Fox Sports North.