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Leadership, coaching and accepting adversity

January 30, 2017


Marc Trestman, former head coach of the Chicago Bears, explains how his law school education shaped his career in pro football.

Photos by Paula Burch-Celentano



By Claire Davenport

Marc Trestman is best known for his career coaching professional football, yet few knew that he was once an aspiring lawyer. On Jan. 26, the Tulane Sports Law Program presented a talk by Trestman at the Tulane University Law School about the impact of his law school education on his career.

Trestman’s career in professional football spans three decades and includes leading the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes and the National Football League’s Chicago Bears. He is also the author of Perseverance: Life Lessons of Leadership and Teamwork.  

“I decided to embrace the inevitability of adversity, stay humble in times of success and serve others, asking and expecting nothing in return,” Trestman said.

Human connection, he said, is more important than personal gain.

“Football players wanted me to help them master their craft, but that wasn’t enough for me,” he said. “I wanted to help them become better men.”

The lessons Trestman shared went beyond football and included advice on how current law students could pursue their aspirations successfully and with a sense of fulfillment.

“Football is a zero-sum game every play.  Someone wins and someone loses and you have to be able to deal with that.”

Trestman was introduced by his cousin Evan Trestman (L '77), a New Orleans attorney. The talk kicked off the 3rd Annual Professional Football Contract Negotiation Competition, which draws law school teams from across the country to sharpen their negotiating skills in the context of the NFL contract process. The Tulane Sports Law Society sponsors the event.

See photos from the competition on Tulane Law School's Facebook page.

Claire Davenport is a junior at Tulane University majoring in English and political science.

Note: This story first appeared in Tulane University's New Wave.


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