Legendary 49ers fullback and running backs coach Tom Rathman on Thursday announced his retirement from coaching. The Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame member spent 31 years in the NFL as a player and coach.
Rathman began his playing career with the 49ers in 1986 as a third-round pick out of Nebraska. He spent his first eight seasons in San Francisco where he was an integral part of two Super Bowl winners before finishing his career with one season in Oakland.
For his career he posted 2,020 rushing yards and 26 touchdowns on the ground, along with 2,684 receiving yards and eight touchdowns through the air.
San Francisco was also where Rathman got his start in the coaching ranks. He joined the 49ers’ coaching staff in 1997 as the running backs coach, a position he held through the 2002 campaign. From there he went to Detroit for three seasons, Oakland for three seasons, and then back to the 49ers for eight years. He made his second exit from San Francisco when head coach Kyle Shanahan took over in 2017.
Rathman took the 2017 season off before joining the Colts coaching staff where he spent the final three seasons of his career.
The 49ers issued a statement on their long-time player and coach, calling him the “quintessential 49er in every way.”
The 49ers family would like to congratulate Tom Rathman on concluding a tremendous, 31-year career as both a player and a coach in the National Football League. During more than two decades as a 49er, he left an indelible mark on our organization, the players he coached and the defenders he battled. Tom coached his players the same way he played the game, with a selfless, hard-nosed dedication to getting the best out of himself and those around him. A member of the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame, he is the quintessential 49er in every way. We are so happy for Tom, his wife, Holly, and their family, as he steps away from the game to which he gave so much.
Along with the team statement, long-time 49ers running back Frank Gore took time to congratulate his former coach, capped with a phrase Rathman frequently utilized in practice:
I want to congratulate Tom on a Hall of Fame career – both as a player and a coach. Tom was a father-figure to me. He came into my life and career at the perfect time. He challenged me every day to be better, both on the field and off, and I always wanted to make him proud. Tom helped me see the big picture of football and I wouldn’t have had as much success throughout my career without him. I love him. SQUEEZE IT!
Gore was drafted by the 49ers in 2005 between Rathman’s stints as the 49ers’ running backs coach, but the two spent six seasons together between 2009 and 2014 – Gore’s final year in a 49ers uniform.