Very few UNM coaches could be recognized for coaching four different sports: baseball, swimming, football and golf, and still have the energy and dedication to manage the "new" UNM Golf Course while maintaining teaching status as a Physical Education instructor. One such legend is George "Stormy" Petrol, who coached at UNM for almost 40 years.
Fondly nicknamed "Stormy," by his players, Petrol was known to be a strict disciplinarian with a gruff voice and a fiery personality. His unique idiosyncrasies, perhaps superstitions, created a reputation for Stormy that every athlete knew. His baseball training mandates are legendary - no ketchup, peanuts, snacks or candy, but plenty of fried chicken was acceptable.
Petrol graduated from Albright (Pa.) College where he was mentioned for All-American honors in 1928. He later played professional football for the Providence Steamrollers in the East Coast League. Petrol came to New Mexico in 1938 where he was principal and head football coach at Espanola High. He joined the UNM football staff in 1942, helping the Lobos make two Sun Bowl appearances.
In 1945-46, Petrol formed UNM's first swimming team. The Lobos finished second in the Border Conference. When the "new" University Golf Course, now North Course, opened, it was Petrol who coached the team.
By his own admission, Petrol's greatest enjoyment and satisfaction was coaching the UNM baseball team from 1947-65. The 19-season run is the longest in program history and included three Skyline Conference division titles and the Lobos' first NCAA postseason appearance in 1962.
There have been many coaches who contributed to building the foundation for various athletic programs at UNM, but few had the tenure that George "Stormy" Petrol enjoyed.