The San Francisco 49ers are going to announce a new inductee into the franchise Hall of Fame on Wednesday, and it appears team CEO Jed York let the cat out of the bag. York tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that former fullback and assistant coach Tom Rathman will get the honor.
Rathman joins a select group of franchise greats. The team created the Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame back in 2009. They inducted 17 people that year, three the next year, two the year after, and have inducted one in subsequent years.
The team’s Hall of Fame recognizes players, coaches and executives, “who have displayed one-or-more of the following qualifications: outstanding production and performance on the field, key contributions to the team’s success, and/or the embodiment of the spirit and essence of the San Francisco 49ers.”
Rathman is certainly deserving of induction. He was a critical component of the late 80s and early 49ers offenses. He was a fullback, but he did so much in all phases of the offensive game.
He was a key contributor to those teams, but even after his playing days were done Rathman was a key contributor to the organization. He served as running backs coach from 1997 to 2002, and then from 2009 to 2016. The number of successful running backs he helped develop is impressive. It is hard to quantify the impact of a running backs coach, but it seems like every single running back that came through the organization while he was a coach has had nothing but good things to say about him.
Rathman was not retained by Kyle Shanahan for his new coaching staff. Shanahan had made a promise to Bobby Turner that he would hire him as running backs coach whenever he got his first head coach job. Shanahan tried to figure out a way to retain Rathman, but it did not work out. I am happy that we’ll get to see him at Levi’s Stadium one more time this fall when he is formally honored.