Sun Dec 12 07:02pm EST
After intense rumours last night that the University of Miami Hurricanes would hire Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman (pictured, right, with the 2009 Grey Cup) as their new coach, it appears they've gone in another direction. ESPN's Bruce Feldman is reporting that the Hurricanes have instead decided to offer the job to Temple head coach Al Golden, another name who had been mentioned prominently over the last few days. Tyler Bieber adds that it isn't official yet and Golden hasn't apparently accepted the deal yet, but it's hard to see him passing up this chance.
That's surely going to please a lot of the fans of "The U" who had been complaining about the Trestman rumours. Trestman's resume's very impressive, including his time as an NFL offensive coordinator where he turned Rich Gannon into a Pro Bowl quarterback and led the Oakland Raiders to a Super Bowl appearance and his three Grey Cup appearances and two victories in his three years as a CFL head coach. People don't pay a ton of attention to the CFL south of the border, though, which is why we've seen posts including phrases like "Who the heck is Marc Trestman?" If anything, Trestman being passed over in first Minnesota and then Miami for coaches with arguably less stellar resumes reinforces just how poor the perception of the CFL is in the U.S.
Of course, Trestman was never a lock to succeed in the NCAA. Despite his terrific variety of experience, he hasn't spent a ton of time at the American college level, and there are significant differences between it and the NFL and CFL games. For one thing, the NCAA is becoming more and more a cult of personality these days. In a sport without a draft or trades, where your player talent pool is entirely based on who you're able to recruit, Trestman's somewhat bookish and analytical personality would have been a bit of an outlier at least. That doesn't mean it wouldn't have worked, as Miami still has a tremendous local recruiting area and a solid national profile from their glory days, and Trestman could have brought in more flamboyant assistants to aid the recruiting cause, but it does explain some of the doubts some had about him.
Moreover, Miami perhaps depends more on perception than many other schools, and much of their image over the years has been about swagger. Trestman's Alouettes have displayed some of that, but nowhere near as much as the team had in the Don Matthews days. Trestman is more reminiscent of Randy Shannon, the efficient and effective coach Miami just fired, than he is of the outlandish bravado of a Jimmy Johnson or a Howard Schnellenberger. Despite his connections to the school (he worked as a graduate assistant there in the 1980s) and the area (he's a member of the Florida bar), the Trestman to Miami rumours always seemed a bit off in terms of fit from the time Herb Zurkowsky first floated them
Like the way he wasn't chosen in Minnesota, this certainly increases the likelihood Trestman will return to the CFL this coming year. It doesn't make it a lock, however. He's now been prominently targeted as a candidate in two high-profile NCAA searches, and his name is all over the college football radar at the moment. There are other, smaller schools out there with existing vacancies that might make him an offer, and there may even be some other big vacancies that open up between now and next season. There also are plenty of NFL jobs that either are open or may become available, and that might make even more sense; Trestman has more NFL experience, and he might be a better fit in a league where he doesn't have to recruit players, one that's more about knowledge and schemes than flamboyant personalities.
Trestman really doesn't have a lot to gain by spending more time in the CFL; even if he goes and wins the Grey Cup again next year, American teams don't seem too likely to put much more credence in that than his current CFL record. It's certainly far from out of the question that he's back on the Montreal sidelines this coming year, but it definitely isn't a lock either. Keep in mind that NFL and NCAA salaries are considerably higher in general: Trestman's current salary is generally believed to be between $300-400 thousand, while Minnesota was apparently offering upwards of $1 million and Miami was offering close to $2 million. Even a small school could probably double his current paycheque, and it would also offer him an increased profile in the U.S., a chance to be closer to his family in North Carolina and a chance to move up to an even better job if he did well. Trestman definitely isn't gone yet, but even the Miami job falling apart doesn't necessarily mean he's patrolling the CFL sidelines this coming season.