Birmingham native Tony Curtiss Nathan started to display his passion for football at the home of the Colonels, Woodlawn High School (WHS) as a running back. While at WHS, Nathan rushed for 1,450 yards and scored 142 points setting an all-time record at WHS. In Addition to Football he lettered in three other sports Baseball, Basketball and Track for the Colonels. During the 1973 & 1974 seasons he was acknowledged by The Orlando Sentinel and Parade to the All Southern and All American Teams while also being named 1st team All-State. Due to his outstanding athletic excellence during his tenure in high school he was awarded an Athletic scholarship to the University of Alabama coached by the Legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant. Choosing Alabama over in state Grid-Iron Bowl rival Auburn.
Nathan’s collegiate career spanned from 1975-1979. During that time with the Tide he established himself as an intricate part in the tides explosive offense as a running back. During his career, he rushed for 1,997 yards and 29 Touchdowns averaging 6.4 yards a carry. Nathan finished his career with 3,362 all purpose yards and 30 Touchdowns . He was also a key asset to Special teams as the return man, averaging 10.9 yards a return. While at Alabama he was a key player on the 1978 National Championship team, defeating Joe Paterno’s #1 ranked Penn State Nitty Lions 14-7 on January 1st 1979 at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, LA.
With dreams of becoming a pro, Nathan took his 6’1 220 pound frame and entered the 1979 National Football League Draft it was there that the Miami Dolphins and Iconic Coach Don Shula made him their 3rd round pick 61st overall whom he played for from 1979-1987. He was identified as a smart elusive runner with outstanding receiving ability. Nathan established himself as a triple threat. No other time was that ever more on display then the hook and ladder play in 1982 AFC Championship over time game. Which is referred to as the “Epic in Miami” game against the San Diego Chargers. It has been considered one of the top plays in NFL history along with what some say was the greatest game ever played. Though in defeat, Nathan finished that night with 169 total yards and two touchdowns. Nathan played in Super Bowls XVII, XIX. At Super Bowl XIX he had 10 receptions for 83 yards with the 10 receptions being the 2nd most in Super Bowl history at that time. 1988 Nathan’s football playing career came to an end retiring from the Dolphins with 3,543 Rushing yards 16 Touchdowns, 383 and receptions for 3,592 yards for 16 Touchdowns.
After playing for the Dolphins for 9 seasons, his passion for football continued. And the next phase in his football career was becoming Don Shula’s assistant coach in 1988, and then moving to Running Backs coach in 1993-1995, coaching talents such as Pro Bowler Keith Byars and Terry Kirby. 1996 Tony Dungy came calling from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and brought him on as the Running Backs coach from 1996-2001. During that stint he coached the likes of 3X Pro Bowler and NFL Offensive Rookie of the year Warrick Dunn and 6x Pro Bowler, 3x AP All Pro Mike Alstott. It was under the tutelage of Coach Nathan that the Buccaneers rushing offense began to constantly rise from 22nd, 11th, and 4th in rushing. In 2003-2005 Florida International University head coach and former Dolphins teammate Don Strock hired Nathan as Running Backs coach. In 2006 Nathan was inducted into the Senior Bowl Hall of Fame along with Pro Hall of Famers Curtis Martin and Michael Strahan. It was also in 2006 that Nathan returned to coaching in the NFL becoming the Running Back coach for the Baltimore Ravens and put together the explosive backfield of All-Pro Jamal Lewis, 2x Pro Bowler, All Pro and Alabama Alumni Le’Ron McClain, University of Miami Star and 2X time Pro Bowler Willis McGahee , 2nd team All Pro Ovie Mughelli, and Mike Anderson. February 2008 he was hired by Mike Nolan of the San Francisco 49ers to coach Frank Gore and the other talented running backs.