Tony Nathan

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Tony Nathan (born December 14, 1956 in Birmingham) is a football coach and former University of Alabama and NFL running back. His junior and senior years as a football player at Woodlawn High School were dramatized in the 2015 film, Woodlawn.


Nathan lettered in four sports -- football, basketball, baseball and track -- at Woodlawn High School. He earned a scholarship to Alabama and played alongside Ozzie Newsome on the 1978 Alabama Crimson Tide team that won the national championship. He racked up 127 yards against Penn State in the Sugar Bowl to help clinch the title.

He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 1979 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. Despite his relatively small size, his ability to find seams and elude tacklers, as well as his pass-catching skills, made him a valuable member of the Dolphins for 9 seasons. In 1981 he was the team's Most Valuable Player, with 782 yards rushing and a 5.3 yards per carry average, tops in the league.

Nathan was the Dolphins' starting running back in Super Bowl XVII and Super Bowl XIX. In Super Bowl XIX, he shined as a pass-catcher, with 10 receptions, the second most in Super Bowl history. He was also intstrumental in the Dolphins 45-28 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC title game prior to the Super Bowl, rushing for 64 yards, catching eight passes for 114 yards, and scoring a touchdown.

Another one of his most notable performances with in an AFC playoff game that became known as "The Epic In Miami". Nathan gained 169 total yards and scored two touchdowns in the Dolphins' narrow loss.

He finished his nine NFL seasons with 3,543 rushing yards, 383 receptions for 3,592 yards, and 32 touchdowns (16 rushing and 16 receiving). He also completed four of eight passes for 61 yards and a touchdown.


After his retirement Nathan become an assistant to Don Shula in 1988. He would become running back coach in 1993. From 1996 to 2001 he was the running backs coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, under Tony Dungy. In his first season the Bucs' were 22nd in rushing offence, but rose steadily to 11th and then 4th in the next two seasons. After having the 30th ranked rushing offense in 2001, he would be replaced by new coach Jon Gruden.

During the 2003-2005 football seasons, Nathan was the running backs coach at Florida International University, under head coach and former Dolphins teammate Don Strock.

In 2006, Nathan was inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame along with Curtis Martin and Michael Strahan. Additionally, he made his return to the NFL coaching ranks when he was hired by the Baltimore Ravens as their new running backs coach.

Nathan was inducted into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1999 and presented with the Legend of Birmingham Award during the Monday Morning Quarterback Club team luncheon before the 2014 BBVA Compass Bowl

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