Tom Rathman
No. 44
Personal information
Born: (1962-10-07) October 7, 1962 (age 61)
Grand Island, Nebraska, U.S.
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High school:Grand Island Senior
NFL draft:1986 / Round: 3 / Pick: 56
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games started:107
Rushing yards:2,020
Player stats at PFR

Thomas Dean Rathman (born October 7, 1962) is an American former professional football player who was a fullback for the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Raiders of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Following his playing career, he became a coach in 1995 and coached the 49ers' running backs through the 2016 season, and was later inducted into the 49ers' hall of fame. Rathman was a three-sport star at Grand Island Senior High in central Nebraska. In addition to a state Hall of Fame career as a fullback for the Islanders football team, Rathman won a state championship in the high jump in 1980 during his junior year.

Early life

Rathman was born in Grand Island, Nebraska. Rathman was a three sport athlete at Grand Island High School in Grand Island, Nebraska. Rathman exceled on the football field as a fullback and linebacker. He was nominated first team all-state in 1980.[1] He was an accomplished track and field athlete winning the state championship in high jump as a junior.[2] Rathman has been inducted to the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame.[3]

College career

Rathman was a three-year letter winner in football at the University of Nebraska. He finished his college career with 1,425 rushing yards, and averaged over six yards per carry. Often considered the greatest fullback in modern Nebraska history, Rathman set several school position records, some of which still stand, including most yards rushing by a fullback in a single season (881, in 1985) and most career rushing touchdowns by a fullback (twelve). He was noted for his ability to break long runs, especially during his senior year in 1985, when he averaged 7.5 yards per carry.

Professional career

San Francisco 49ers

Rathman was selected by the 49ers in the third round of the 1986 NFL Draft with the 56th overall pick.[4] His professional career spanned nine years as a fullback, the first eight with the 49ers. For the first five seasons, he was the lead blocker for another former Cornhusker, Roger Craig. Rathman helped lead the 49ers to two Super Bowl championships, rushing for 38 yards, catching four passes for 43 yards, and scoring two touchdowns in Super Bowl XXIV. In 1989, he led all NFL running backs in receiving with 73 receptions for 616 yards.

Los Angeles Raiders

Rathman spent his last season in 1994 with the Los Angeles Raiders.[5]

Rathman finished his NFL career with 2,020 rushing yards, 320 receptions for 2,684 yards with a total of 34 touchdowns. Additionally, Rathman had five kickoff returns for 103 yards.

Coaching career

After retiring as a player, Rathman began his coaching career in 1995 at the high school level, as the running backs coach for Junípero Serra High School in San Mateo. The next year, he served as offensive coordinator at Menlo College in Atherton. He became a pro coach in 1997 when he joined the 49ers staff, and served as running backs coach through 2002. In 2003, he accompanied head coach Steve Mariucci to the Detroit Lions where Rathman was running backs coach during Mariucci's three seasons with the Lions. He then held the same position for the Oakland Raiders for three seasons, and returned to the 49ers as running backs coach on January 7, 2009.[6] Following the departure of head coach Mike Singletary, Rathman was retained by Jim Harbaugh for the 2011 season and was again retained by Jim Tomsula for the 2015 season. After the firing of Tomsula a year later, Rathman was once again retained by new 49ers head coach Chip Kelly for the 2016 season. Following that season, Rathman was not re-hired after Kyle Shanahan was named head coach for the upcoming season. On February 27, 2018, Rathman was hired as the running backs coach for the Indianapolis Colts. On January 28, 2021, the Colts announced Rathman had retired.[7]

Personal life

Rathman currently resides in Redwood Shores, California with his wife Holly, and three daughters, Nicole, Ali, and Samantha.


  1. ^ "Super-State selections". The Lincoln Star. November 30, 1980. p. 42. Retrieved June 13, 2023.
  2. ^ "1980 Boys Track Class A State Championships" (PDF).
  3. ^ "Tom Rathman – Grand Island – Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame". Retrieved June 13, 2023.
  4. ^ "1986 NFL Draft Listing". Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  5. ^ "1994 Los Angeles Raiders Statistics & Players". Retrieved November 28, 2021.
  6. ^ Rathman Rejoins 49ers as RBs Coach, January 7, 2009
  7. ^ @Colts (January 28, 2021). "31 years of excellence. Happy..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.