In memory of

Vincent Robert “Bob” Petrino, age 81, of Helena

April 18, 1937 – July 26, 2018

Bob “Putter” Petrino died on Thursday, July 26, surrounded by his loving family.

Bob “Putter” was born to Ceil and Vince Petrino in Butte, MT on April 18, 1937. He was the oldest of three children.

Bob “Putter” Petrino, Sr., served as Carroll College’s head football coach from 1971-98. In 28 years, he guided the Saints to a 163-90-2 career record, with a 0.644 winning percentage. During his tenure, Carroll garnered 16 Frontier Conference grid championships and appeared in nine national post-season playoffs, advancing to the NAIA semi-finals four times. Four of Petrino’s teams went undefeated for the regular season, in 1973, 1978, 1986, and 1988.

Putter had been a football, basketball and baseball player for Boys Central and the Butte Legion team in the early 1950’s. He played for three state championship teams: the 1952 grid class A Maroons, the 1953 Legion baseball club, and the 1957 Copper League Butte McQueens. In 1953, his 81-yard touchdown helped beat Butte High, and still stands as the longest TD reception in the history of the storied Bulldog-Maroon rivalry. At Western Montana in Dillon, he played baseball and was “an average college football player” (in his own words), before going into coaching.

He graduated with a degree in History and Education at Western Montana in Dillon in 1959.

“Petrino spent 40 years as a coach in Montana before retiring from the Saints,” states longtime IR sports writer Tom Stuber. “His ports of call included Grass Range, Moore, Harlowton, and Butte Central before settling in at Carroll.” At Grass Range and Moore, he coached football, basketball and track, and in 1964 he led the Harlowton Engineers to the state Class B hoops championship. Petrino directed his alma mater, the Maroons, to three divisional grid titles and two epic victories over crosstown rival Butte High. In 1969, Butte Central captured the state Class A championship.

At Carroll, Petrino was named the Frontier Coach of the Year 13 times. In 1973, his Saints went undefeated in the regular season, but were not invited to the NAIA Tournament. Petrino later would become instrumental in helping to make the post season qualifications more fair, so deserving teams would not be left out. His gridders appeared in their first national tournament in 1978, becoming only the second team every from the Frontier Conference to make the playoffs. In 28 years, he registered 24 winning seasons and was a positive influence on hundreds of young men.

Coach Petrino was known as a major motivator, teacher, and great leader. He not only mentored his players, but developed them into men. He loved and cared deeply about his players and had a great passion for his family, football, and faith.

He was preceded in death by his parents, son-in-law, Ken Dow; and great-grandson, Cooper Samson. He is survived by his loving wife of 62 years, Patsy; children: Jolene Dow, Kellie and Mark Samson, Bobby and Becky Petrino, Rosie and Rick Robinette, and Paul and Maya Petrino. He is also survived by 15 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and by his brothers: Mike (Peggy) Petrino and Pat (Connie) Petrino, and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to Carroll College Football, 1601 N. Benton Ave, Helena, MT 59625 and/or The Michael J. Fox Foundation, P.O. Box 5014, Hagerstown, MD 21741-5014 and/or Hospice of St. Peter’s Hospital c/o St. Peter’s Hospital, 2475 Broadway, Helena, MT 59601

A Vigil will be held at 7:30 p.m., Monday, July 30th at Carroll College P.E. Center, 1601 N. Benton Ave. in Helena. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 31st at the Cathedral of St. Helena, 530 N. Ewing St. in Helena. Rite of Committal will follow mass at Resurrection Cemetery. Following the committal service, a reception will be held in the Brondel Center at the Cathedral of St. Helena. Please visit below to offer the family a condolence or to share a memory of Bob.





Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.

  1. steve gross says:

    My Thoughts and Prayers are with you all at this most difficult time.
    Steve Gross

  2. Nick Gilbert says:

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Petrino family.

    Nick Gilbert & Macey Johnson

  3. Denise Ruffra says:

    So sorry for your loss! Prayers for your family.

  4. Dave Boller says:

    Coach Petrino was a good man and Coach. Thoughts and prayers are with the family.

  5. Joe Sullivan says:

    This man shaped my life as a player, a coach, a father, a teacher as he did with countless others. His legacy of creating family will live long and be passed on by those who had the fortune to be a part of his life.

  6. Don Dunn says:

    Thoughts and prayers-

  7. Lisa Vance says:

    Prayers for peace. Sorry for your loss. May God’s blessings be upon each member of the family and all those who’s lives he touched.

  8. Bucky Gaunt says:

    So sorry for your loss. We will keep everyone in our thoughts and prayers.

  9. Rose Mays says:

    So sorry to hear about your dad, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and the whole Petrino family.

  10. Jason Hilliard says:

    Sorry to hear about your loss coach. Praying for the entire Petrino Family.

  11. Andy Wagner says:

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Petrino Family! We are sorry for your loss!

  12. Kenny Thomas Sr. says:

    Sorry for your loss Coach Petrino. Thoughts and prayers for the Family.

  13. Tom Erdie says:

    It was the winter of ’64-’65. I was teaching in Harlowton. I coached the 7th grade basketball with Putter as my mentor. We made a trip to Forsyth with his high school team, after which we would travel to Billings for tournament seeding. I had driven his car to Billings. He put the team on the bus to go home while we were to drive to Billings at 20 below zero. The car froze up about three miles out of town. I had brought along a stylish Russian faux fur hat with ear muffs. As Putter’s friend (and mine) stated, Putter let you know what he thought and was not complimentary toward my hat. About 1/2 mile into our walk back to Forsyth, Putter says “Erdie, I’ll give you twenty bucks for that hat.” I declined. I still have the hat and smile when I encounter it.

  14. patrick Hagan says:

    So sorry Coach for your loss, many prayers to you and family.

  15. Tim Easton says:

    Prayers going out to The Petrino Family. Had the pleasure to work with Bob in the Carroll Century Club. Ran the Carroll Golf Tournament for a few years along with Mary Kunnary, Rick Wells and Bob Denherder.
    RIP PUTTER. You will be missed.

  16. Tom Scott says:

    I talked with Coach Petrino several times during the past few years and what stands out the most was how PROUD he was of ALL his family! He will be very much missed by all of us.

  17. Ron Kenney says:

    Coach……. mentor, teacher, discipline, Leader, motivator, role model, communicator, esteam builder, opportunity developer, life developer, …..missed……rest in peace! Bless your family.

  18. Joe and Lisa Dow says:

    It was an honor knowing Coach Petrino. He was always very kind to me. Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire family.

  19. Ross & Chasity Prophater says:

    I never had the privilege to meet Bob Sr. but he sounded like someone who was dedicated to bettering the lives of young people and loved doing it. On behalf of my family and the many Cards Fans like me, warm thoughts, well wishes and prayers go out to the entire extended Petrino Family. God Bless.

  20. Thinking of you and your family. From two Cards fans.

  21. All I can say is he was i will miss him. A good man. Prayers

  22. Chuck hall says:

    Our thoughts and prayers for the entire Petrino family.

  23. Kim Thiel Schaaf says:

    My deepest sympathies to the entire Petrino family on the passing of Bob Sr. May you find comfort in his life well lived, the lives he touched and your individual memories. Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  24. Pat Kelly says:

    Coach Petrino was always attentive to those of us who spent
    many hours at the athletic center. His presence was admired
    and respected for a great many reasons. Thoughts go out
    to his entire family.

  25. Mark and Jennifer Lamkin says:

    Sending thoughts and prayers from Louisville, Kentucky to the entire Petrino family! So sorry for your loss – Mark and Jennifer Lamkin

  26. Jason and Kate Shumaker says:

    Our deepest sympathies to the Petrino family- very sorry for your loss.

  27. Mike Sullivan says:

    To the Petrino family we are sorry for you loss. May your wonderful memories of Putter help you through this sorrowful time. Putter had such a strong influence on so many people. His legacy will continue to live among all he influenced. Our prayers are with you.

  28. Your Anchorage Family says:


    Your father must have lived an incredible life. From the obituary to the comments on Facebook and the stories here, it is clear that he influenced the lives of many.

    Your Anchorage family is here and physically far away, but know we are holding you and your family close in our hearts. May your sweet father now Rest In Peace without fear or pain.

  29. Pat & Mary McMahon says:

    To Patsy & family, Pat, Mike, Connie & Peggy – so sorry for your loss. We’ve heard many stories over the years from Gene & as he said “they don’t make ’em like him any more”. God bless!

  30. Peter James Hamper says:

    My sincere condolences to the entire Petrino family. Petrino Nation. Bob was a mentor and friend to me for almost fifty years. Never any doubt about where he stood. May he rest in peace.

  31. Bill and Joeanne Gerry says:

    Sorry for your loss. May you rest in peace tamper light Putter. God Bless

  32. Lyn Rodgers says:

    Mike , Peggy ,Michael, Jason, Jared and the entire Petrino family,
    Our sincere thoughts and prayers for God’s continued love and comfort at this difficult time.
    I can tell through stories from Peggy ,that he indeed lived a very fofilled life and touched many.
    Continued love and prayers,
    Lee and Lyn Rodgers

  33. The Kelly Daughters; Danita, Pam, Linda, Marilyn says:

    Our sincere sympathy to Patsy and all the Petrino’s. We were your neighbors on Fairway back in the 70’s to mid 80’s when our own parents passed and we sold the house. Our Dad, Dan, used to say with the Petrino’s on one side and Trudenowski’s on the other, the very “unathletic” Kelly’s didn’t stand a chance! He used to love to sit on the patio and watch the footballs fly across the fence. Godspeed to Coach Petrino.

  34. Don Biehl, Moore grad 1965 says:

    Mr. Petrino was our version of Coach Vince Lombardi. He was a Mentor to all of us who had the opportunity and luck to have him as a coach and teacher. I was sad when he left Moore for not having a longer time to learn more life skills from him. Mr. Bob Petrino’s extended family (this includes all whom he taught) will miss him.

  35. Oscar Brohm says:

    Our prayers are with you. Sorry for your loss. – from Oscar and Donna Brohm

  36. Ron Gerdrum says:

    Bob Petrino was my coach at Grass Range his first 3 years of coaching. He taught me so much in those 3 years. What a great role model he was. I have the greatest respect for him. So sorry for your loss.

  37. Julie & Jim DeMars says:

    Sending our sincere condolences to the entire Petrino family during this difficult time.

  38. Neil Campbell says:

    Patsy and all of the Patrino Family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Putter Patrino was tough, Butte tough, honest, unwavering, and driven to turn Montana boys into men. Those eyes saw what you could be and then he would challenged you to be more.
    Coach Putter reached out to me when I was at the crossroads of my life. All I wanted was to play football and he gave me so much more that it changed to projection of my life. He was one of a kind, end of an era and my life was changed because he was a part of it. I will think of him often and thank God he was brave enough to give us Coach Patrino. – Neil Campbell, Carrol College Class of 80

  39. Rose Scoville says:

    Pat , Connie and family. I wish to extend my sympathy to you and the rest of your family. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I would send a card, but time does not allow.

  40. Dr. S. V. Bender says:

    Rest in Power Sir. Your legacy continues on through your children and their families. We here in Louisville, Kentucky continue to reap the benefits everyday from your teachings and wisdom through your Son, Coach Bobby Petrino, for this we are greatful. In conclusion Sir, job well done COACH! Thank you, my heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Petrino and the entire Petrino family. Peace and Blessings.

  41. Leslie Wozniak says:

    Thinking of you all during this difficult time. I have no doubt my dad was there at the gate so excited to greet his dear friend. Keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers. Tom, Leslie (Ritter) Wozniak and family.

  42. Vicky Dritsoulas says:

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the Petrino family during this difficult time. So sorry for your loss.


  43. Fraser MacDonald says:

    To say Putt was unique and one of a kind would be an understatement at best.As a football
    coach,he was the best option coach on any level of the game period. He was helped along
    by 8 years of having Bobby and Paul as his QB.Fiesty and competitive as a player and coach
    he got the best out of each individual he coached.He led Western to two conference
    baseball championships and Butte legion to a state championship as he did McQueen
    in the Copper League. My condolences to Patsy and the entire family and friends,who were many.He lived life his way and passed it on to the many players he had from Grass Range
    to Carroll.Putt will be missed but not forgotten.RIP my friend!

  44. Paul Painter says:

    Our sincerest thoughts are with Coach’s families and especially with Patsy. It is true that you are known by the friends you keep. But it is also a fact you are a product of who “mentors” you. (i.e. if you pay attention and listen but then how could you not with Putter!) There is not a player from his 1964 Harlowton Championship basketball team who would fail to support that idea. He was indeed our life-coach!

    We gathered for a 50th anniversary basketball reunion awhile back and Coach was unable to attend but the memories and stories filled the room. He would have been proud of his troops but probably would have had some insight regarding our perception of his coaching style. Imagine that…

    From all the remaining team members: God bless you Coach-You earned your “Time Out”

  45. Brett Weber says:

    My prayers go out to the Petrino Family. I feel so privileged to have played for Coach Petrino. He was a great coach, leader and mentor. I have great memories of my time spent at Carroll, but none more than the time spent on the field with Coach and the team. Thanks for all you did for me.

  46. Ken Ille says:

    My last three years of High School were spent at Grass Range where Coach Petrino was my teacher and my coach. He taught me a lot in the classroom as well as on the court and the track and I have never forgotten him. Sad to see a man of such great character pass on so soon. My support and prayers go out to the family.

  47. Our deepest sympathies go out to the entire Petrino family. Wishing you moments of peace and comfort as you celebrate and remember Bob’s remarkable life. You will remain in our thoughts and prayers.
    From all of us at Dentistry by Design Wellness Center in Spring Hill, TN.

  48. Armando P. Barragan says:

    It was an Honor to play for Coach… At 18 years old being a long way from home He was more than a coach , at times like a second Father for some of us. It was never always about football, but was always about doing your best. My family and I sends our deepest sympathies to all of the Petrino Family , He will always be in our prayers….

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