HELENA, Mont. (AP) – Montana football fans are in mourning after the passing of longtime Carroll College coach Bob “Putter” Petrino Sr. He was 81.
A 1955 graduate of Butte Central, Petrino won three state championships in the Mining City, one in football and two more in baseball. He continued his athletic career at Western Montana College, now Montana Western, in Dillon, before entering the coaching ranks.
Petrino made coaching stops in Grass Range, Moore, and Harlowton, leading the football and basketball programs, before returning to Butte Central and guiding the Maroons in 1965. In 1971 he became the head coach at Carroll College, reshaping the program.
Petrino mentored the Fighting Saints from 1971 to 1998, compiling a career record of 163-90-2, good for a .644 winning percentage. His teams won 16 Frontier Conference championships, earning him 13 Frontier Conference coach of the year honors.
Carroll competed in the NAIA national playoffs nine times under Petrino, including four semifinal appearances. Carroll also recorded undefeated regular seasons on four occasions: 1973, 1978, 1986 and 1988.
During his career at Carroll, Petrino tutored numerous all-conference and all-American athletes, including his sons Bobby and Paul, who each earned all-American recognition as quarterbacks for the Fighting Saints.