Marc Trestman has been hired as the Bears next head coach.
The Bears confirmed the news at 4:07 a.m. Wednesday, several hours after reports of his hiring emerged from the Tribune and NFL Network. Trestman, who becomes the 14th head coach in Bears history, is expected to be introduced during a news conference Thursday morning at Halas Hall.
Trestman, 57, has 17 years of NFL experience but spent the past five seasons as the head coach of the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League. The other finalists were reportedly Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
He led the Alouettes to a 64-34 record, including back-to-back Grey Cup championships in 2009 and 2010.
Before joining the CFL, Trestman proved to be a capable play-caller who worked well with a wide range of NFL quarterbacks. Between stints coaching running backs and quarterbacks, he served as the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns (1988-89), San Francisco 49ers (1995-96), Arizona Cardinals (1998-2000) and Oakland Raiders (2001-03).
In San Francisco, Trestman helped Steve Young win 17 of 23 starts while compiling a 67.2 percent completion percentage, 34 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Several seasons later in Oakland, Trestman oversaw the best stretch of Rich Gannon's career, including an MVP season in 2002 in which he threw for 4,689 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Both the 1995 49ers and the 2002 Raiders boasted the NFL's top-ranked passing offense.
The Bears are counting on Trestman to provide a similar jolt to their offense.
Only once since 2000 have the Bears finished among the NFL's top 20 teams in total offense. The exception was in 2006, when the Bears reached Super Bowl XLI thanks to a top-five defense and a 15th-ranked offense that featured Rex Grossman as starting quarterback.
But a prolonged struggle on offense cost the Bears a shot at the playoffs for five of the past six seasons. The corresponding playoff drought ultimately cost Lovie Smith his job.
In comes Trestman, a well-traveled coach unknown to most Bears fans a few weeks ago.
Trestmanís biggest project will be Jay Cutler, who will turn 30 years old in April. In four seasons with the Bears, Cutler has showcased his elite-level talent but also has struggled with consistency while absorbing 148 sacks in 56 games.
It will not be the first time that Trestman has worked with Cutler.
Before the 2006 NFL draft, Trestman worked one-on-one with Cutler as a highly touted prospect from Vanderbilt. Trestman has trained several other quarterback prospects, including Jason Campbell in 2005, Tim Tebow in 2010 and Brandon Weeden in 2012.
The Bears selected Trestman ahead of 12 other candidates, which included fellow finalists Bruce Arians of the Indianapolis Colts and Darrell Bevell of the Seattle Seahawks. Trestman becomes the fourth coach to try to win a Super Bowl since Mke Ditka did so Jan. 26, 1986, following in the footsteps of Dave Wannstedt (1993-98), Dick Jauron (1999-2003) and Smith (2004-2012).