MONTREAL — They joined forces in 2008 and saw their respective careers rise to an entirely new level.
Grey Cups were won and records were broken and they both earned their fair share of accolades, with one earning Coach of the Year honours and the other winning back-to-back Most Outstanding Player Awards in 2008 and 2009.
But now it is over.
Related: Trestman Era Over
For the first time since 2008, the Alouettes will be looking for a new head coach following the departure of Marc Trestman who has accepted a position with the Chicago Bears. Here’s the latest on his departure and what it means for the Als.
On the heels of the news that Marc Trestman has left the Montreal Alouettes, his former quarterback Anthony Calvillo met with reporters in Montreal to discuss his thoughts on the news.
To say that Calvillo couldn’t be happier for Trestman would be an understatement.
“My wife woke me up and told me that Marc had gotten hired and then about a half an hour later Marc called me just to say that he was going and to wish us luck and he was just so excited,” began Calvillo.
“He was just so excited and I’m happy for him. He’s worked so hard throughout his entire career to get this opportunity. He proved himself here and now he has an opportunity to go back where he started and prove himself there,” he added.
Alongside Trestman, Calvillo saw his career reach new heights as he rapidly tuned out doubters who believed his career was on the decline.
Upon his arrival in 2008, Trestman – with the assistance of former Montreal QBs coach and offensive coordinator Scott Milanovich – helped refine Calvillo’s throw, allowing him to get the ball out of his hand much quicker.
The results were instant and awe-inspiring.
In that first season, Calvillo threw for 5,633 yards and a monstrous 43 touchdowns. He also threw 682 passes, a number that still remains to be a career high.
The following two seasons, Calvillo racked up an impressive 9,438 yards and 58 touchdowns, throwing just 13 interceptions in the process.
The two also combined to win the next two Grey Cup championships, a feat that at one time evaded Calvillo.
Suffice to say, Calvillo and Trestman accomplished a lot with each other, paving the way for what Calvillo described as an emotional good-bye.
“It was very emotional. He’s had so many great memories here and we’ve become more than just friends,” Calvillo said through a smile.
“It’s a special feeling knowing that all the success we had and now he’s going to move forward,” he added.
Like players, coaches come and go in the CFL, but what makes Trestman’s departure all the more meaningful for Calvillo is the fact that they have clearly built a relationship that stretches beyond the game of football.
Calvillo believes that he and his teammates will move on, but will always remember what they achieved with their head coach over the last five seasons. “You always grow. You meet somebody at the beginning and you don’t know how it’s going to build and over the last five years our relationship has been very special on and off the field,” said Calvillo.
“We’ve been able to share so many great stories with one another and that’s outside of football and then and we’ve become pretty good friends. Just as a person I’m excited that he’s going to get this opportunity,” he added.
When the news broke that Trestman was leaving the Als, a lot of questions surfaced regarding Calvillo’s intention to continue playing, believing that Calvillo’s success was solely dependent on Trestman’s presence.
Calvillo, however, made sure everyone knew he still plans on playing and competing for the 101st Grey Cup as a member of the Montreal Alouettes.
“Not at all,” said Calvillo.
“One thing that I’ve learned in this profession is that I’m always going to trust the powers that be, Mr. Wetenhall and Jim Popp to get the right people here to help us win. I’ve never doubted that and now we’re in a situation where they’re going to have to go out and find somebody,” he continued.
“Not once did it cross my mind to enter retirement.”
With the Trestman era officially over in Montreal, Calvillo and whoever the team’s new head coach might be, will be counted on to continue the success the organization has enjoyed over the past decade.
Calvillo also went as far to say that he is open to contributing in the search for a new Head Coach.
It’s a challenge that Calvillo is looking forward to.
“If they ask me questions, I’ll of course give them my opinion but again that’ something that (Popp and Wetenhall) always handled,” he said.
“For me, I just got myself ready and once they hired the new guy I got in contact with him and we started building from there. I’m just going to let them do what they have to do, I’ll keep getting ready and continue rehabbing my shoulder and see who’s going to be our next head coach.”