Sometimes Coaches need a change of venue. In the pro ranks, coaches get moved around. GMs know that it takes more than great coaching to win championships. It takes great players, the right chemistry, and what you might call luck, some call fate, and still others regard as faith.
When Lovie Smith was let go by the Bears, there were more than a few fans who were saddened--although it seemed like the Chicago sports media had called for his "head" for the last few years he was running the show. When he was shown the door, I was surprised to see how many expressed displeasure with the decision. It was not that I didn't like Lovie myself, I just thought that based on the press, there were a lot more who wanted him to leave.
Of course, in sports media, much of what is said has to do with hype or show business. If that's a surprise to people, I don't think it is for those in media or those who coach, manage teams, or play for them. It's not easy to "sell papers" these days and there is an endless amount of competition in almost every facet of sports analysis and reporting. Being an athlete is very competitive--long odds no doubt. Being a successful sports reporter may be less likely still. If you are not sure whether you should attempt to become a Super Bowl winning coach or the next Bob Costas--well I think the odds are better with the Super Bowl.
Lovie Smith has moved on to Tampa Bay and I suspect he will do well there. In Chicago, he seemed to be universally loved by the players although I don't believe he was a soft touch. I think a man who commands the respect of his players, the way Lovie Smith does, is going to be a winner wherever he goes. He's got the right stuff.
When Marc Trestman landed in Chicago, some seemed to focus on his success in Canadian Football. In his five years as head coach of the Mountreal Alouettes, he was in the Grey Cup (their Super Bowl) three times and won it twice. Surely his time in Montreal is impressive, but he's been around for a long time and his experience is "all over the map." Trestman looks like he is 45 years old, but he is actually pushing 60--he's been around the block. Trestman played quarterback behind Tony Dungy at the University of Minnesota and then played a final year at Minnesota State where he saw more playing time. He tried out for the Vikings in two camps as a defensive back.
Trestman went to law school at Miami and passed the Bar. He worked in the college ranks briefly and then he paid his dues in the pros at several NFL teams learning from some of the best coaches. Who knows what burns inside Marc Trestman--who knows how intense he feels the slings and arrows of professional sports criticism, but it is obvious that he uses his calm and assured coaching persona to develop quarterbacks about as well as anyone in football.
Trestman is a coach who does believe very strongly in team chemistry, the importance of what goes on in locker room, his players' behavior on and off the field, and each person's responsibility to do their job and support each other. Trestman's says the things that you do for other people will live long after you--the things you do for yourself will not. According to Trestman, everyone in the organization deserves respect and everyone is an important person from the top shelf players to people who take care of the locker room. Trestman expects his players to respect themselves and everyone else around them. Testman also talks about facing adversity as something that just needs to be done. You face your challenges, respond to the best of your ability, and move on.
I was really sorry to see Lovie go. But Bears fans have another good guy in their corner. It should be a good year for the Bears.
Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of Pillars of the NFL: Coaches Who Have Won Three or More Championships and other fine book including Maddie Takes the Ice; The 10 Commandments of Baseball: An Affectionate Look at Joe McCarthy's Principles for Success in Baseball (and Life); Public Bonehead, Private Hero: The Real Legacy of Baseball's Fred Merkle; and Sports and Faith: Stories of the Devoted and the Devout. Seen here.