clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

49ers legend Tom Rathman retires from coaching

The fullback spent eight seasons with San Francisco.

San Francisco 49ers legend Tom Rathman announced that he is retiring from coaching. The 58-year-old has spent the last three seasons as the Indianapolis Colts’ running backs coach.

Rathman was an NFL lifer, being a part of the league for 31 seasons. He spent 22 of those with the 49ers as a player and coach. Rathman, who is a part of the team’s Hall of Fame, played eight seasons with San Francisco. He racked up 4,392 total yards with 34 touchdowns and was a part of two Super Bowl-winning teams.

San Francisco released a statement thanking Rathman for his contributions to the organization.

“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.”

Another legendary Niners back, Frank Gore, also had some kind words for his former position coach.

“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!”

When head coach Kyle Shanahan took over in 2017, he also brought in current running backs coach Bobby Turner. Rathman was offered another role on the coaching staff, but he elected to move to the Colts to become their running backs coach.

“It was an honor to represent the NFL for more than 30 years as a coach and player,” Rathman said in a statement. “I was proud to represent and coach some outstanding players and I’m thankful for my time in Indianapolis. I’ll always be a Colts fan.”

Rathman was a third-round pick in the 1986 NFL Draft. His best seasons as a Niner came in 1988 and 1989. Here are Rathman’s stats for those two years:

1988: 427 rushing yards (career-high), two rushing TDs, 382 receiving yards.

1989: 305 rushing yards, one touchdown, 616 receiving yards (career-high), one receiving touchdown.

He helped the 49ers win back-to-back Super Bowls those seasons. Rathman had a memorable performance in the 1989 Super Bowl win over the Cincinnati Bengals, where he finished with 38 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Rathman also caught four passes for 43 yards in that game.

Rathman played his final NFL season with the Los Angeles Raiders in 1994. He then transitioned to coaching and spent 14 seasons on San Francisco’s staff under five different head coaches. Rathman worked with Steve Mariucci, Mike Singletary, Jim Harbaugh, Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly before moving on to Indy in 2017.