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Cobras mourn the loss of Tim Petros

"He was always really positive and funny, just a really nice human being."

COCHRANE— A local icon of the football field has died.

The Cochrane Cobras football team is mourning the death of 58-year-old Tim Petros. Petros died of a heart attack on March 30.

"I met Tim years ago when I tried out for the University of Calgary [football team], when he was playing for the Dinos," said Cobras co-head coach Rob McNab. "He was one of the alumni people that as a young Dinosaur myself, looked up to.

"He was always really positive and funny, just a really nice human being. I got to know him a little more when he and his family moved to Cochrane and his son Nik was going to enroll at Cochrane High and play for the Cobras, so we got Tim out coaching. He always formed such great relationships with the kids so that was nice to see as a head coach, that you had great assistants and that the kids loved him."

Petros was well known on the football field, first gaining attention in the 1980s as a running back for the University of Calgary Dinos. He won a Vanier Cup with the team in 1983, crowning the Dinos as national champions. He also gathered MVP honours for his outstanding performance that saw him rush for 260 yards while also gathering 400 yards of total offence.

The two records set by Petros are still standing.

Petros graduated from the University of Calgary and moved onto playing for the Calgary Stampeders from 1983-1990, where he played 100 games for his hometown team.

Petros retired from playing football and decided to move into coaching as the running back's coach for the Cochrane Cobras. He also took on his career outside of football, joining the family business at Nick's Steakhouse before creating his own local business in Cochrane Tim's Gourmet Pizzeria.

McNab said Petros was vital to the growth of the Cobras football program, especially at the running back position. 

"When you played at University to the calibre (of play) that he did, winning MVP during the Vanier Cup and then playing for the Stampeders ... it's just knowledge, not only in football but life advice too," McNab said.

"Just how to deal with teammates and to have him on board, I looked at him as a mentor. I'd go to him and say 'what should we do in these situations' and he always came up with something really positive. I never heard a negative word come out of his mouth which is refreshing, especially in the coaching world where it's an excitable sport and you're on the clock all the time. He was very positive and I think he used to draw a lot of his own experiences so I learned a lot from him."

McNab, who saw Petros a few weeks before he died at a Dino's alumni event at the beginning of March, said that Petros was a great role model for those in the community.

"What was always great about Tim is he always made you better and engaged," McNab recalls. "He asked questions about your family and your kids. He was inquisitive and it never had anything to do about him, it was everything to do about other people. So that's one thing I'd take away and hope people would do more of is, ask people how they're doing and about their families ... Tim was excellent about that."