Argos part ways with Head Coach Marc Trestman
TORONTO — The Toronto Argonauts have relieved Marc Trestman of his duties as head coach, the team announced Saturday morning.
The Argos part ways with Trestman just two seasons into his tenure with the club after a disappointing 4-14 season where the Boatmen missed the playoffs.
“This was a very difficult decision,” said Argonauts president Bill Manning. “Marc is a good man. He’s won a lot more games than he’s lost in his football career. But it was a decision I felt we had to make as an organization. Over the last few weeks, as we dug into the progress of this team, it became clear to me that there was some misalignment on where we wanted to be as an organization.”
Manning said the decision had been discussed previously, but a final conclusion was reached after the Argos’ season finale, a 24-9 loss to the Ottawa REDBLACKS.
During a press conference on Saturday morning, Manning also announced that Jim Popp would return as the team’s general manager, providing a vote of confidence in the process.
“I have great faith in Jim Popp to lead us forward,” said Manning. “I’ve tasked Jim with going out and hiring the best head football coach we can get. I’m extremely confident in Jim and I believe with his track record and his background and the relationship we’ve built, I think we’re in very good hands moving forward.”
“Obviously this is very difficult for me, with my relationship with Coach Trestman, this process,” said Popp. “We’ve worked together seven years, we’ve done four Grey Cups together. We’re friends. We’ve got a great working relationship. It came down to a decision that we needed a change. That’s where we went with it.
“I will always be great friends with Coach Trestman. He’s a tremendous person. He’s a great coach. He’s a great inspiration to people to help better them, and if he wants to continue coaching I’m sure he’ll have opportunities somewhere else.”
Trestman joined the Argonauts in February of 2017, taking over a five-win club previously under the direction of his old offensive coordinator Scott Milanovich. He steered the Argos to a 9-9 season and was able to earn first place in the East Division. A win over Saskatchewan in the Eastern Final took the Argonauts to a Grey Cup, where they defeated the Calgary Stampeders.
This season, however, things went wrong from the start. A season-ending injury to Ricky Ray in the second game of the season compounded with key losses in the coaching staff, including Marcus Brady and Corey Chamblin, as everything seemed to go wrong for the Double Blue.
“This has been a very difficult season for us,” said Popp. “There were a lot of things that didn’t go right. We’ve all got to be better for it. You learn a lot from losing, much more than you do from winning, and we’ll be a better organization moving forward for it.”
The 43rd head coach in Argos history, Trestman has had no shortage of success in the CFL, leading the Montreal Alouettes to a pair of Grey Cup championships in his first three years of CFL coaching.
Trestman finishes his short Argonauts tenure with a 15-23 record.
For Popp, the process of finding the next head coach has likely already begun, although serious ground may not be made until after the Grey Cup Playoffs.
The Argos’ GM did, however, make clear that his intention is to hire someone currently coaching in the CFL.
“I think our timeline is going to be strung out,” he said. “It depends who we’re interested in and if they’re still participating with other teams – there probably are people that are in the playoffs right now that we would have an interest in talking to. I want those teams to fully concentrate and whoever they are, hope they win the Grey Cup.
“To be fair to them we’re not going to talk about names. The process could be strung out over the next month unless we find the person we’re really interested in.”