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Marc Trestman, right, coached NFL receiving great Jerry Rice during their time with the Oakland Raiders. ((John G. Mabanglo/AFP/Getty Images) )

The Montreal Alouettes have gone south of the border for their new head coach, hiring veteran NFL and U.S. collegiate assistant Marc Trestman on Tuesday.

Trestman, 51, has served on the staffs of eight NFL teams over 17 years, including four stints as an offensive co-ordinator.

Hewas not able to attend a news conferenceannouncing his hiring due to a family medical emergency involving his father.

"Marc Trestman has an impressive track record, mostly at the NFL level," said Alouettes president and CEO Larry Smith. "We believe he will be able to bring great leadership skills and knowledge to our league and take the Alouettes back to the standard to which our fans are accustomed, and to our ultimate objective which is the Grey Cup."

The Alouettes are coming off their first losing season since the franchise was reborn in 1996. They were 8-10 under Jim Popp, who gave up his coaching duties after the season to focus solely on his job as general manager.

Trestmanfirst became an NFL offensive co-ordinator in 1989 with the Cleveland Browns. He held the same post with the San Francisco 49ers in 1995 and 1996, but was often criticized for his play-calling.

Trestmanlater directed the Oakland Raiders' offence in 2002, when the team led the NFL in total yards en route to making the Super Bowl, where it lost to Tampa Bay.

Most recently,he was the offensive co-ordinator at North Carolina State University for the 2005 and 2006 seasons, after which the school dismissed its entire coach staff. Trestman did not coach in 2007, but did serve as a consultantfor the New Orleans Saints.

A former quarterback for the University of Minnesota during his playing days, Trestman's only CFL experience came last spring when he served as a guest coach at Montreal's training camp.

However, he is well known to Popp. Trestman worked with Popp's father, Joe, when both coached in Cleveland in 1989.

Trestman was chosen over several candidates with CFL experience, including Toronto Argonauts offensive co-ordinator Steve Buratto, Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive co-ordinator Richie Hall and former Calgary Stampeders and Edmonton Eskimos head coach Tom Higgins.

With files from the Canadian Press