Coach of the year one year, fired the next, Marc Trest­man watched his life both on and off the foot­ball field present ob­sta­cles too large to over­come

Sunday Sports - - SPORTS - FRANK ZICARELLI fzi­carelli@post­media.com

From heroes one year to ze­roes the next, the rise and fall of the Ar­gos has been both shock­ing and stun­ning.

And amid this dizzy­ing back­drop of con­trasts, Marc Trest­man en­dured a sim­i­lar tra­jec­tory, one year hailed as the CFL’s coach of the year, the next year shown the door.

Not all the blame will rest on Trest­man’s shoul­ders as the Ar­gos are now in the process of re­group­ing from their abysmal 4-14 sea­son, but coaches own up to a team’s record and Trest­man was more than will­ing to stand up and be ac­count­able when the dust set­tled from Toronto’s most re­cent set­back, a 24-9 loss to Ot­tawa’s B-team in Fri­day night’s sea­son fi­nale.

He didn’t point fin­gers at any­one, never made men­tion of the litany of in­juries the Ar­gos had to en­dure, never found any ex­cuse when asked the im­pact Ricky Ray’s in­jury had on this year’s group.

Where the Ar­gos turn for the club’s third head coach in four years re­mains an open ques­tion, one of those con­nect-the-dots ex­er­cises with no short­age of qual­i­fied can­di­dates.

Or­londo Stein­auer may be avail­able once the Ti­cats are done with their busi­ness.

If Ti­cats’ June Jones de­cides to re­turn to Hawaii, Stein­auer neatly moves into the head coach­ing job.

If Jones de­cides he wants back, Stein­auer is likely to walk and there’s no bet­ter land­ing spot than Toronto.

Stein­auer has paid his dues and his first coach­ing gig was given to him by Jim Barker when the lat­ter left coach­ing to be­come the Boat­men’s gen­eral man­ager in 2012, the year he ap­pointed Scott Mi­lanovich as head coach.

Kevin Eiben and Stein­auer were team­mates. Stein­auer also has a great work­ing re­la­tion­ship with Tommy Con­dell. Of the as­sis­tants Trest­man had around him, Eiben and Con­dell seem to be among the few wor­thy of be­ing re­tained.

Popp may ask Corey Cham­blin, Toronto’s de­fen­sive co-or­di­na­tor who led last year’s Grey Cup cham­pi­onship unit, but he’s now in the NCAA sys­tem and it would take a lot to lure him back.

Peo­ple have lost sight of the re­mark­able — one could ar­gue un­ex­plained — run that the Ar­gos mounted last sea­son en route to win­ning a ti­tle.

The timely plays, the for­tu­nate bounces, catch­ing their stride at the ab­so­lute right mo­ment, it all peaked.

One year later, it sank quicker than tech shares.

Credit team pres­i­dent Bill Man­ning for read­ing the Ar­gos’ sit­u­a­tion cor­rectly.

When he an­nounced news of Trest­man’s dis­missal Satur­day, he was so right in say­ing how the club was mis­aligned.

When play­ers were brought in, coaches never adapted to a player’s strengths by run­ning schemes in line with the CFL.

Corner­back T.J. Heath was signed in free agency and ev­ery­one knew, save for Ar­gos coaches, that he is best used in zone cov­er­age in Cover 2 schemes be­cause he is un­will­ing to ini­ti­ate con­tact.

Heath played man in Toronto’s schemes and was burned be­fore ul­ti­mately be­ing traded to Mon­treal.

Shawn Lemon,a sack spe­cial­ist, gets traded to B.C.

In­stead of hav­ing rush ends, a ma­jor source of de­fi­ciency with this year’s team, they’d at­tack the perime­ter by cre­at­ing two-way go moves, and are told to crash down the line of scrim­mage.

Poor coach­ing, poor schem­ing, ar­eas head coaches must be held ac­count­able, were ar­eas un­der Trest­man’s con­trol. Some ar­eas were not. Ul­ti­mately, his voice in the locker room did not carry the weight it once had.

In sport­ing par­lance, he had lost the room, which led to the 40-10 em­bar­rass­ment in Mon­treal in the sea­son’s penul­ti­mate game and Fri­day night’s folly.

He mis­han­dled quar­ter­back James Franklin and com­pletely mis­man­aged wide re­ceiver Duron Carter.

The word ‘toxic’ comes to mind when de­scrib­ing the vibe around the Ar­gos as sea­son played out, coaches do­ing the dirty work in re­port­ing back to Trest­man, ac­cord­ing to those as­so­ci­ated with the team, on what was be­ing said in­side the room.

Any­one who has been around this year’s team could see the writ­ing on the wall with Trest­man.

He wasn’t the same head coach of last sea­son, miss­ing a few prac­tices to tend to per­sonal mat­ters.

Sadly, Trest­man’s life away from foot­ball wasn’t nice with his dad pass­ing away.

Even an ama­teur psy­chi­a­trist could see how the Ar­gos should not have placed Trest­man in the sit­u­a­tion he was placed in this sea­son with the per­sonal tragedy en­gulf­ing his life. He’s hu­man. Trest­man needed time to heal, but no time was given.

As some­one who has been in­volved in coach­ing for most of his life would say: “It hard­ened him in a per­sonal way that came through his team when they needed him more as a man than a coach. He needs the time to re­cover.”

It’s hard for those who felt the wrath of Trest­man to be­lieve it, but he is a good man, but one who needed to get away from foot­ball.

Mer­ci­fully, the reg­u­lar sea­son ended Fri­day night in Ot­tawa.

What Man­ning and Popp did Satur­day in the early hours was per­form an act of mercy.

STAN BEHAL/TORONTO SUN

With all that went on in Marc Trest­man’s life this year, his fir­ing was likely an act of mercy.

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