Suitor: Trestman and Calvillo are true leaders in the CFL

Glen Suitor
11/30/2010 11:09:57 PM
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Congratulations to Marc Trestman, Anthony Calvillo and the rest of the Montreal Alouettes organization on winning the Grey Cup championship in hostile territory for the second straight year.

After this years game in Edmonton, Ben Cahoon was asked if the Als would now be considered a dynasty. He hesitated and then said that he didn't think so, and maybe for now that can be debated. What is certain is that they have been the best team and organization in the CFL for the last decade, and over the last three years under the leadership of Marc Trestman have built the foundation that if they can stay the course, they could very quickly become a dynasty.

In his book titled ''Perseverance, Trestman says that ''the best leaders are those who care about those they lead. It's a simple, yet powerful, statement that may seem obvious, but is often so obviously lacking in organizations, companies, and in all other walks of life. To truly care about those you lead, you have to always put the goals and objectives of the team and those you lead ahead of your own agenda, no matter how challenging that may seem at times; which again may seem obvious but is a level of unselfishness, which at times can be hard to maintain.

Case in point is Trestman's decision to stay with kick returner Tim Maypray and release last years Special Teams Player of the Year Larry Taylor, sighting the fact that Maypray had been with the team all year and had gone through the tough times with his teammates. It would have been tempting to take the bigger name, but instead Trestman trusted his principles, stayed true to the process, and was loyal to a foot soldier in Maypray which sent the right message to the team, and had to galvanize the locker room even more than it already was.

With his background in the NFL, it would be easy for Trestman to try and impress his former colleagues south of the boarder by being very careful with what he says about the two leagues, but he has always been honest and genuine with his public praise of the CFL game and of his starting quarterback.

Before the Grey Cup, Trestman said that Anthony Calvillo was the best quarterback he had ever worked with, and that list of QBs is a long and impressive one, again demonstrating a level of integrity, and honesty that will not be compromised. Some in the NFL may question that statement not knowing AC, and because of it wonder about Trestman. And it may have been easier to not say that about Calvillo, but he believed it and also understands what it would mean to AC to hear it. It may be a small point but it was unselfish, and that is why it wasn't a surprise that AC followed that example with an unselfish act of his own by refusing to tell anyone of his medical issues until after the championship game was over and his team had achieved their goal, even though the star pivot had been burdened with the knowledge of his condition since August.

In his post-game speech on Sunday, the head coach of the Als hit on three points; first he wanted his team to respect the opponent, the Saskatchewan Roughriders for their effort and a great year. Secondly, he emphasized again that the championship win was about the entire organization and not an individual achievement. And finally, thanked the fans of Quebec for their support.

Marc Trestman has lead the Als to the championship in all three years that he has been in Canada and won it twice. That level of consistency takes commitment to the process, a genuine respect for the game and the opponent, and most importantly requires a coach that truly cares about the men he leads. Dynasty or not, it is easy to see why the Als have been so successful over the last three years, because they have the right leaders in Marc Trestman and Anthony Calvillo, who have it figured out. Trestman says it in his book when he states, ''I am not in the football business; I am in the people business. 

Congrats again to the Als and thanks football fans for an outstanding year of Canadian Football.

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