MONTREAL — Marc Trestman, who guided the Montreal Alouettes to four CFL East finals and two Grey Cup titles, will be the next head coach of the Chicago Bears, the NFL said on Wednesday.
The Minnesota-born Trestman beat out 12 other candidates to replace Lovie Smith, who was fired after his team posted a 10-6 record this past season.
Trestman, a former offensive co-ordinator with four different NFL playoff teams, becomes the first Canadian Football League coach in 27 years to jump to a top NFL job.
Marv Levy, also a former Als coach, made the leap in the early 1980s.
Trestman, 57, left a good impression following his interview with Bears' brass, spending eight hours with team executives in the Windy City.
In recent days he had also met the Cleveland Browns for their open head coaching position, on top of a sit-down with the Oakland Raiders for their offensive co-ordinator post.
By Monday, the Bears had whittled their search down to Trestman, Seattle Seahawks offensive co-ordinator Darrell Bevell and Bruce Arians, offensive co-ordinator with the Indianapolis Colts.
Trestman will be tasked with restoring the once-proud Bears franchise.
The 1985 Super Bowl champs have only made the playoffs four times in the past 13 seasons.
Quarterback Jay Cutler has taken the brunt of the criticism for the Bears' misfortunes, and Trestman has built a reputation as a quarterback-friendly leader.
A lawyer by training, Trestman began his career in 1981 at his alma mater, the University of Miami, and was quarterback coach for the Hurricanes when they won the 1983 National Championship.
He held the same position for the San Francisco 49ers in the mid-1990s when Hall of Famer Steve Young was the pivot.
Trestman's successful run with the Alouettes was led by legendary QB Anthony Calvillo, who enjoyed his best years under the Minnesotan and became the CFL's all-time leading passer.
While the soft-spoken coach's offensive leadership will be tested in Chicago, he also has defensive challenges in the Windy City, with an aging line that includes Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs.
Trestman will draw upon experience amassed during a well-travelled coaching career that features stints with eight NFL teams including the Minnesota Vikings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Cleveland Browns and the 49ers.
He maintained a strong reputation south of the border throughout his five seasons in Montreal, running pre-draft workouts for several American college quarterbacks.
Trestman departs Montreal with a 59-31 record, tying him for second in franchise history with Douglas Walker.
He's just one win behind Don Matthews on the Alouettes' all time coaching wins list.
Marc Trestman's Alouettes Record
2012 : 10-8, first place in East Division, lost in division final
2011 : 10-8, second in division, lost in division final
2010 : 12-6, division champions, Grey Cup champions
2009 : 15-3, division champion, Grey Cup champions
2008 : 11-7, division champions, lost in Grey Cup final