Hartman: Trestman rewarded for return to coaching

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 17, 2013 - 6:19 AM

 The new Bears coach, a former Vikings assistant, was out of coaching before the 49ers wooed him back in 1995.

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In this July 16, 2012 file photo, Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman speaks to reporters at a news conference in Montreal.

Photo: Ryan Remiorz, Associated Press - Ap

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Vikings wide receivers coach George Stewart, who held the same position for the 49ers from 1996 to 2002, recalled that then-49ers head coach George Seifert lured Marc Trestman out of football coaching retirement in 1995 to become the team's offensive coordinator.

Trestman, who was named Bears head coach Wednesday, had been out of football from 1991 to '95 after spending the 1990 and 1991 seasons as Vikings quarterbacks coach. He earlier had been Vikings running backs coach in 1985 and '86.

I remember the St. Louis Park High graduate was selling stocks and bonds in Miami in 1995 and making big money. Many of his close personal friends, including me, tried to talk him out of making a coaching comeback because he was doing so well financially. He actually took less money to coach with the 49ers.

Had Trestman not made the move back into coaching in 1995, he wouldn't have been announced as the new Bears coach Wednesday.

"He was out of coaching and George [Seifert] got him to come back into it with us, right after coach [Mike] Shanahan left to go to Denver," Stewart said. "We needed a coordinator and Marc came in and coordinated for two years in San Francisco."

The 49ers quarterback at the time was Steve Young.

"[Trestman] did an excellent job," Stewart said. "I think Steve was a Pro Bowler ... when Marc had him."

Young was named a second-team NFL All-Pro in 1995 and made the Pro Bowl in 1996 while working with Trestman. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll -- who was hired along with Trestman by the Vikings back in 1985 as a defensive backs coach -- was the defensive coordinator for the 49ers in 1995 and '96 as well.

"Marc was the offensive coordinator, very smart, very calm, very patient. He will do an outstanding job in Chicago," Stewart said.

Trestman has coached a lot of great quarterbacks. He was the quarterbacks coach at the University of Miami in 1983, when Bernie Kosar led the Hurricanes to the national title. Trestman also helped Rich Gannon to an NFL MVP season and the Raiders reach the Super Bowl for the 2002 season when he was their offensive coordinator.

The word from people close to the Bears is that quarterback Jay Cutler has been tough for coaches to handle, but Trestman worked with Cutler before the 2006 NFL draft and had a great relationship with him. Apparently Cutler had a lot to do with Trestman being hired to get the Bears offense working, and he had nothing but praise for Trestman on Wednesday.

Sharon and Jerry Trestman, longtime area residents, got the big phone call from their son very early Wednesday morning with the news of his hiring by the Bears.

"We haven't been to sleep, we are so excited," Jerry said.

The proud parents of this outstanding gentleman have got a lot to be proud of, and they will become big Bears fans now.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bears released the story to the press at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Big game in the Barn

The Gophers and Michigan both have a lot on the line Thursday night in the first matchup of Top-10 teams at Williams Arena since February 7, 1977 -- when the No. 5 Wolverines defeated the No. 10 Gophers 86-80.

It's the Gophers' third chance this season to defeat a team ranked No. 5 in the nation. Their two losses this season having come against Duke and Indiana, which were also ranked No. 5 when they faced the Gophers.

The Wolverines are trying to avoid their first two-game losing streak in the regular season since early in 2011.

Michigan coach John Beilein told MLive.com that while Thursday's game is important, it certainly isn't a must-win.

"I'd be dead if I looked at games like that," Beilein said, adding, "It's all about the process. The journey and the process is what leads you to the end. There's never a must-win [this early in the season]."

Still for both teams, it's important to stay at one loss early in the Big Ten schedule.

After tonight, the Gophers already will have completed their hardest stretch of conference play. After the Michigan game, they will have faced four of the five Big Ten teams that are currently ranked in the Top 25.

Rival Wisconsin remains the lone unbeaten team in conference play after its 64-59 upset at Indiana on Tuesday.

Jottings

• There were two Minnesota natives who played a big role in the Badgers' upset of Indiana on Tuesday. Mike Bruesewitz, a senior forward who played at Henry Sibley, scored 10 points, grabbed three rebounds and had four assists in 33 minutes of play and also went 2-for-5 on three-point shots. Jared Berggren, a redshirt senior center who played at Prince-ton, Minn., finished with five points, four rebounds, one steal, one assist and one block in 28 minutes.

• Gophers junior defensive tackle Roland Johnson, who was having a fantastic season until he tore up his knee, has undergone surgery and will miss spring practice.

• Gophers recruit Louie Nanne of Edina is seventh in scoring on the Penticton Vees of the British Columbia Hockey League with 13 goals and 13 assists in 31 games.

• In the American Hockey League, former Gopher Jeff Taffe is 10th in the league in scoring with eight goals and 27 assists in 36 games for Hershey, and former Gopher Jeff Frazee is 19th among goaltending leaders with a 2.48 goals-against average and .908 saves percentage for Albany. ... Former Gopher Jordan Schroeder is tied for fourth in scoring for the AHL Chicago Wolves with nine goals and 10 assists.

• In the Central Hockey League, former Gopher Ben Gordon of Tulsa is fifth in league scoring with 20 goals and 21 assists, and former Gophers goalie Kent Patterson of Denver is ninth in the league with a 11-6-2 record and 2.72 goals-against average.

• Five Gophers recruits were among the 40 USHL players chosen to play in the 2013 USHL/NHL Top Prospects Game to be held Jan. 23 in Muskegon, Mich. Taylor Cammarata and Justin Kloos (Waterloo), Gabe Guertler (Fargo), Vinni Lettieri (Lincoln) and Michael Brod- zinski (Muskegon) were selected, as was Sioux City's Jake Guentzel, son of Gophers assistant coach Mike Guentzel.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

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