SBJ/January 28-February 3, 2013/Labor and Agents

O’Hagan charts coaching client’s path to Bears through Canada

Liz Mullen
Back in 2007, agent Gary O’Hagan advised his client Marc Trestman to take a job as head coach of the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

O’Hagan, who heads IMG’s coaching division, had signed Trestman as a client in 2002, when he was quarterbacks coach of the Oakland Raiders. Trestman also had experience as a positions coach and as an assistant coach. But in 2007, O’Hagan said, “He needed to prove he could manage an entire team.”

That experience has now paid off for both groups. Trestman was named head coach of the Chicago Bears earlier this month, and that move added another head coach to IMG’s roster, joining the New York Giants’ Tom Coughlin and the Washington Redskins’ Mike Shanahan.

New Bears coach Marc Trestman
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Assistant NFL coaches didn’t used to have representation, but more of them are now signing with agents, O’Hagan said last week, although he wouldn’t speculate on a percentage that retain representation.

Just as being an assistant coach is a path to becoming a head coach, the track to representing someone who is a head coach can begin with representing that person when he is an assistant coach. Of course, that progression to head coach can take years, so both the coach and the agent must be patient along the way.

“I was really proud of what Gary did with Marc,” said Sandy Montag, IMG senior corporate vice president and managing director of clients. “He was a client for 11 years. They really worked together, and it paid off.”

IMG also represents Lovie Smith, whom Trestman replaced. “Lovie wants to be a head coach again,” Montag said. But with no NFL head coaching jobs currently available, Montag said, “At this point, it looks like Lovie is going to look at his options for next year.”

> UNDERCLASSMEN SET DRAFT RECORD: NFL player agents for months have been privately predicting that a record number of underclassmen would declare for this year’s NFL draft. Earlier this month, the NFL announced that, indeed, a record 73 college football players have declared, up from 65 last year.

Agents could not pinpoint an exact reason for the increase but said contributing factors could be the revocation of the Junior Rule, thus allowing agents to talk to underclassmen, and that this is a difficult year to predict who the top draft prospects might be.

Gil Brandt, former head of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys and an NFL.com writer who invites prospects to the draft for the league, said he thinks the most likely reason for the increase is agents talking to players. He added that of the 65 players who declared last year, only 44 were drafted.

“I look at some of these guys of the 73 [who declared this year], and they don’t belong,” Brandt said. “They should stay in school and get an education because they will need it later in life.”

Brandt did not name names or predict how many players would not be selected, but he said he was concerned with the large number of players declaring.

“I am concerned for two reasons,” he said. “A guy who comes out and fails [doesn’t get drafted], in most cases, is reluctant to go back to school, and he is reluctant to go back to his hometown.”

> SIGNINGS FOR SCHWARTZ & FEINSOD, BUS COOK: Schwartz & Feinsod has signed Rutgers cornerback Logan Ryan for representation in the NFL draft. Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod will represent him. Bus Cook Sports has signed Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan Banks for representation. Cook, who is best known for representing former NFLer Brett Favre, will represent Banks.

> ENCORE SIGNS DYSERT FOR MARKETING: Encore Sports & Entertainment has signed Miami University quarterback Zac Dysert for marketing work. Dysert will be represented by Chris Stuart, Encore president and CEO, and Luke Munson, Encore director of player marketing. Encore is based in Carlsbad, Calif., and represents New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, among others, for off-the-field work. Priority Sports & Entertainment agent Mike McCartney will handle Dysert’s playing contract.

> WASSERMAN NBA SIGNINGS: Wasserman Media Group has signed New Orleans Hornets guard Greivis Vasquez and Charlotte Bobcats center Bismack Biyombo for representation. Wasserman Vice Chairman Arn Tellem and executive vice president of basketball B.J. Armstrong will represent them.

Liz Mullen can be reached at lmullen@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter @SBJLizMullen.

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