The Los Angeles Rams have named Special Teams Coordinator John Fassel the interim head coach, the team announced today.
The Rams have set several NFL and franchise records since Fassel became the team’s special teams coordinator five seasons ago. His punt team – led by two-time Pro Bowl punter Johnny Hekker – is first in the NFL in net average, net yards and opponent return average since 2012.
Under Fassel’s tutelage Hekker became the first punter in the NFL to record a punt of 75 yards or more in back-to-back weeks since 1984, including a career-best 78-yard punt in Week 10. Through 13 contests in 2016, the Rams’ punt unit leads the NFL in punts downed inside the 20-yard line (46), matching the NFL record for most punts inside the 20 in a single season. Of Hekker’s 79 punts, only one was a touchback.
Additionally, his punt return team has scored four touchdowns during his tenure as special teams coordinator, which is tied for the third-most in the NFL during that span. On the coverage side, Los Angeles is first in the NFL this season in opponents’ punt return average, allowing only 3.7 yards per punt return.
K Greg Zuerlein, who was drafted during Fassel’s inaugural year with the Rams, owns five of the six longest field goals in franchise history and has converted 18 field goals of 50 or more yards, which is the second-highest total in team history. KR/RB Benny Cunningham, who signed with the Rams under Fassel’s watch, ranks first in Rams history for kickoff return average at 27.1 yards per return (Cunningham reached the career minimum of at least 75 kickoff returns this season, moving him to the top of the list).
Fassel joined the Rams after spending the past three years in the same capacity with the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders saw much success under Fassel’s leadership, garnering some of the league’s top special teams accomplishments. His units led the NFL in special teams takeaways, turnover differential and points scored in 2009 and 2010.
From 2005-07, Fassel was Baltimore’s assistant special teams coach. He helped the Ravens to top-10 finishes in punt and kickoff return average in 2006 and 2007 and his units returned five kicks for touchdowns in two seasons. From 2003-04, he was the head coach and assistant athletic director at New Mexico Highlands University. Fassel also served six months as the school’s interim athletic director and taught undergraduate and graduate courses.
He earned a master’s degree in athletic administration at Idaho State University, where he was a graduate assistant and sports science instructor from 2000-01. Fassel played wide receiver at Weber State, graduating in 1999 with a degree in exercise science. He was signed as a rookie free agent wide receiver with the Indianapolis Colts.
Fassel is the son of former NFL coach Jim Fassel, a longtime NFL coach who guided the New York Giants to the Super Bowl during the 2000 season.
Fassel At A Glance
2016- Los Angeles Rams Interim Head Coach
2012-16 Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams Special Teams Coordinator
2008-11 Oakland Raiders Special Teams Coordinator
2005-07 Baltimore Ravens Assistant Special Teams
2003-04 New Mexico Highlands University Head Coach/Assistant Athletic Director
2002 Bucknell Wide Receivers/Special Teams
2001 Idaho State Graduate Assistant/Sports Science Instructor
2000 (Spring) Amsterdam Admirals Strength & Conditioning/WRs/Special Teams
1999 Bucknell Wide Receivers/Special Teams