The Ratliff family is centered around one thing: their passion for football.
Phil Ratliff was one of head coach Brad Lambert’s first hires for the 49er program and quickly became a crucial member of the team. Tragically, he passed away right before the beginning of the 2015 season. His legacy, however, will never be forgotten.
Phil’s mantra “Rock Solid” can be seen all around the 49er football program and his family still remains heavily involved.
Dylan Ratliff has been around the game for as long as he can remember. He picked up the football at 8-years-old and decided that he wanted to be involved with the game for the rest of his life. After an impressive high school career, he landed in the Queen City with the 49ers. Lambert couldn’t wait to add Dylan to the team and knew he was special.
“I’ve known him since he was a really young boy and he’s just a dynamic kid. He’s a really good player and so I’m just really looking forward to his future in football,” Lambert said.
Offensive line coach Chris Scelfo and Lambert spent five years together at Marshall University from 1990 to 1995. While there, they coached standout player Phil Ratliff. Phil was a two-time All-American offensive lineman has been inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame.
“He’s probably one of the most competitive and toughest guys I’ve ever coached on any level. He was like a son to me.” Scelfo said.
Phil’s efforts were unmatched and he gave his all every day in all that he did.
“He was positive, enthusiastic…he made everyone around him smile,” Lambert said. “If I was ever having a bad day, I’d just go sit in coach’s office.”
Haley Ratliff, Phil’s daughter, works in the 49ers football office. The main advice she remembers from her dad is, “Don’t ever do anything halfway; you either be all in or don’t.”
With each day comes new opportunities, and Phil believed that you have to come out and win. Scelfo still incorporates lessons he learned from Phil into his coaching. Phil’s reliability and unchanging work ethic consistently motivated others around him.
“He could light up every room that he went into. He was very vocal and he was very sincere and people saw that in him.” Scelfo said.
Phil’s charisma continues to set a standard around the fieldhouse.
“He’s a guy that everybody loved and he was just a lot of fun. Everyday you knew what was walking through the door. He was a high energy, highly enthusiastic guy and that’s the way he coached and that’s the way he played.” Lambert said.
For both Scelfo and Dylan, their journey has come full circle. Scelfo is in Phil’s office today and thinks about him quite often.
“To know where he would have been in his accomplishments and his life, I know God called him home, but he would have been as successful as any person I’ve ever been around.” Scelfo said.
As Dylan completes his first season with the 49ers, he can’t help but be thankful for the impact football and his dad has had on his life thus far.
“The way my dad raised me is to go out there and attack everyday like it’s your last day, and that’s just me growing up and that’s just how my mindset is,” Dylan said. “There’s nothing really changing about that. Hopefully I’m making him proud with the way he’s raised me.”