By Greg Gulas
Two Mahoning Valley natives have joined the Chicago Bears coaching staff.
One is Matt Cavanaugh, a former Chaney High and Pitt standout who most recently served as the quarterbacks coach of the New York Jets. He’ll be quarterbacks coach.
The other is Pat Meyer, a Girard High and Colorado State graduate who served as offensive coordinator of the Montreal Alouettes last season. He’ll be offensive line coach.
Marc Trestman is the Bears’ new head coach, replacing Lovie Smith. Chicago’s 17th head coach was named on Jan. 16.
“We had a good run in New York but didn’t play well last season,” Cavanaugh said. “As is typical in this business, I was fired and out of a job.
“I had worked with Marc back in 1996 when we were both with the 49ers and I reached out to him,” Cavanaugh said. “He got the Bears job and I was thrilled when he asked me to come on board.”
Cavanaugh is the owner of three Super Bowl rings — two as a player while a member of the San Francisco 49ers and New York Giants, and one as offensive coordinator of the Baltimore Ravens.
“I always admired the Chicago Bears,” Cavanaugh said. “They are a great organization and with Marc as the head coach, fans are going to like what they see on the field.”
According to Cavanaugh, there won’t be too many idle moments between now and the start of the season.
“We’ve been asked to evaluate our personnel and will then start in on unrestricted free agents around the league,” Cavanaugh said. “We have to prepare for the draft, do our playbook and also get our practice schedules finalized so we’ll be busy.”
As the Bears’ new quarterbacks coach, Cavanaugh moves from working with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow with the Jets to Jay Cutler and a group that includes backup Matt Blanchard.
Meyer and Trestman go back to their days at North Carolina State when the latter served as the Wolfpack’s offensive coordinator, and the former was the school’s strength and conditioning coach.
“I have had the good fortune to be with Marc twice now; first on the college level while at North Carolina State and then last season in the CFL at Montreal,” Meyer said. “He’s a bright, intelligent coach who taught me about the passing game and pass protection.
“His attention to detail rubs off on everyone.”
Meyer acknowledged that spending last season as Trestman’s offensive coordinator in the Canadian Football League was a great experience, but he’s ready for his new challenge with the Bears.
“It was early in the morning when Mark approached me, stressing that he would like me to join him with Chicago,” Meyer said. “It didn’t take long for me to make up my mind.
“We have a lot to get done in a short amount of time and with a totally new staff, we’re just getting to know each other.
“I always knew of Matt Cavanaugh and his accomplishments, both as a player and coach, but had never met him until this past Sunday. What a class individual.”
Meyer said growing up in Northeast Ohio helped him.
“I developed my work ethic and many other traits while growing up in the Mahoning Valley,” he said. “Any other place and I might not have been so fortunate.”