MONTREAL — The Alouettes may be the next Montreal sports team with a bilingual coach.
Candidates to replace Marc Trestman will be headed to Florida for interviews this week, the CFL team announced Wednesday.
Team owner Bob Wetenhall said in a statement that the criteria for the new coach were to strive for a winning team, to be involved in the community and to work at “institutionalizing the franchise in Montreal.
“In this process we are paying special attention to reviewing possible candidates from Quebec as well as other candidates from Canada, especially those who are bilingual,” he added. “In the end, I will select the candidate whom I believe is best qualified to continue with our mission.”
Reports have said bilingual candidates may include former Edmonton Eskimos coach and GM and current University of Montreal coach Danny Maciocia, Laval University coach Glen Constantin and B.C. Lions offensive co-ordinator Jacques Chapdelaine.
Sports betting website Bodog has Maciocia and Constantin listed as the co-favourites to take the job at 2-1. Former Winnipeg coach Paul LaPolice, who is not bilingual, is next at 5-2. Former Alouettes receiver Ben Cahoon is a longshot at 20-1. The team has never made bilingualism a priority for its head coaches, who have all been American since the Alouettes returned to Montreal in 1996 after a 10-year hiatus.
Some preliminary interviews have already been held for the Alouettes job and others will follow at Wetenhall’s winter home in Palm Beach, Fla., at the end of this week.
They will “continue into the following weeks until the successful candidate is selected,” the statement said. “These interviews will take place with the owner as well as with general manager Jim Popp.”
Trestman, a Minneapolis native, got his first NFL head coaching job when he signed with the Chicago Bears last week. In five seasons in Montreal, he took the team to three Grey Cup games, winning twice.
Wetenhall and Popp worked together to find the Alouettes’ last two coaches, Don Matthews and Trestman.
They started with 40 to 50 names and have whittled that down.
“We are now getting down to the final list of candidates and will be inviting them for interviews in a short time frame,” said Popp.
Toronto Argonauts defensive co-ordinator Chris Jones pulled himself out of the running this week by signing a contract extension with the Grey Cup champions.
The Trestman hiring in 2007 was a total surprise. And his success showed even a coach with no experience of Canadian football can win games.