The San Francisco 49ers and the York family announced on Tuesday that Tom Rathman will be the 27th inductee into the Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame. Rathman will also travel to Philadelphia to announce the 49ers second-round pick of the 2017 NFL Draft this Friday.
“Tom Rathman embodies everything this organization wants in its players, coaches and staff,” said 49ers CEO Jed York. “Throughout his more than two decades with our team, Tom set a tone for the 49ers both on and off the field. As a player, he was selfless, hard-working and dedicated to bringing his best every single day. Tom coached very much the same way. It was his mission to help every man he coached realize his full potential, as both a player and a man. Tom is family and we are so thrilled to induct him into the Edward J. DeBartolo Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame, where he will take his place among the all-time greats in our team’s history.”
“I could tell that he really cared about what I was doing,” said former 49ers and current Indianapolis Colts RB Frank Gore. “I look at him like a father. He came into my career at the right time. If he didn’t coach me the way he coached me, making me look at the big picture of football, I don’t think I’d still be in the league. He helped me become a complete player. You wanted to make him look good. I wanted to make him proud of me – of how I was playing and how I did.”
“He has a huge heart,” said 49ers Hall of Famer RB Roger Craig. “He’d take his shirt off of his back for you. That’s the kind of guy he is. I have a lot of respect for him. He’s like my brother.”
“Tom Rathman is the best coach I ever had professionally,” said former 49ers RB Garrison Hearst. “It was easy to play for someone who had done it. He knew the details. Everything he taught you, you’d see it work. Even other coaches looked at Tom and said, ‘Dang, that guy knows what he’s doing.’ If other coaches are looking at him like that, how am I not going to look at him the same way, if not more? He carried a real big stick.”
Rathman, who spent 23 years with the team as both a player and coach, is second to only Edward J. DeBartolo Jr. (24 years) for the most years of service to the team among members of the 49ers Hall of Fame. He also joins Joe Perry (Kicking Coach/Game Scout – 1968-69) and Y.A. Tittle (Offensive Consultant – 1965-69) as the only members of the 49ers Hall of Fame to both play and coach for the team.
Rathman was originally selected by the 49ers in the third round (56th overall) of the 1986 NFL Draft. In eight seasons with the club (1986-93), he played in 115 games (91 starts) and rushed for 1,902 yards and 26 touchdowns on 516 carries, while adding 294 receptions for 2,490 yards and eight touchdowns. A member of two Super Bowl Championship teams (Super Bowl XXIII & XXIV), Rathman also appeared in 14 postseason games (10 starts) and rushed for 287 yards and four touchdowns on 64 attempts in addition to 38 receptions for 327 and one touchdown.
Following his playing career, Rathman returned to the 49ers late in the 1996 season as the team’s running backs/assistant tight ends coach. In 1997, he was named the team’s running backs coach, a position he held for six seasons (1997-2002). After spending three seasons as the running backs coach for the Detroit Lions (2003-05) and two with the Oakland Raiders (2007-08), Rathman returned to the 49ers to coach the running backs in 2009, a position he held for eight seasons (2009-16).
Under Rathman’s tutelage, the 49ers rushing offense flourished as the team ranked in the top-10 in the NFL in 11 of his 15 years coaching (1996-99, 2001-02, 2011-14 & 2016), including the top ranked units in 1998 and 1999. Rathman helped guide three different players (RB Charlie Garner, RB Frank Gore and RB Garrison Hearst) to 10, 1,000-yard seasons and seven Pro Bowl selections. Hearst (1998) and FB Fred Beasley (2002) also earned All-Pro honors while working with Rathman.
In 2001, Rathman played an integral role as Hearst rushed for 1,206 yards and earned the NFL Comeback Player of the Year Award following a devastating ankle injury. Rathman was also instrumental in helping Gore become the franchise’s all-time leading rusher. During their five seasons working together (2009-14), Gore rushed for 6,632 yards, the fourth-most in the NFL during that time span.
About the Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame
Established in 2009 and dedicated to Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr., the patriarch of one of the most storied franchises in all of professional sports, the 49ers Hall of Fame was created to recognize players, coaches and executives who have made exceptional contributions to the organization. As a prerequisite for induction, all 49ers Hall of Fame candidates must 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.
About the 49ers Museum presented by Sony
The 49ers Museum – a first-class celebration of the 49ers past, present and future – features 11 unique gallery and exhibit spaces spread out over 20,000 square feet inside Levi’s® Stadium. The journey begins in the main lobby at the Trending Gallery, where you will learn what’s new with the team and the space. From there you’ll move to the Morabito Theater to watch the 49ers signature film and then into the Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame where you’ll walk amongst the 49ers greats. Our Heritage Gallery innovatively illuminates the history of the team through artifacts and multimedia exhibits and leads perfectly into the active In the Game Gallery on the lower level. Your visit will end reliving the memories of the 49ers five Super Bowl Championships in front of the Lombardi Trophies. For more information, please visit LevisStadium.com/Museum/.