Chargers hire longtime NFL assistant Ryan Ficken as special teams coordinator

The Chargers' Dustin Hopkins kicks the ball.
The Chargers’ Dustin Hopkins kicks his game-winning field goal against the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 7.
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

The Chargers have hired longtime NFL assistant Ryan Ficken to be their special teams coordinator.

He replaces Derius Swinton II, who was let go after one season.

Ficken spent the last 15 years with Minnesota and was the Vikings’ special teams coordinator in 2021.


Before that, he was a special teams assistant for eight seasons. During his time in Minnesota, Ficken also worked with the wide receivers and running backs.

A graduate of Arizona State, Ficken, 41, began his coaching career with a three-year stint as an assistant at UCLA.

The Chargers have struggled on special teams for several years. In November of the 2020 season, the team reassigned coordinator George Stewart and replaced him with Keith Burns and Chris Caminiti.

A short time later, then-head coach Anthony Lynn took over special teams to finish the season.

In 2021, the Chargers added returner Andre Roberts and kicker Dustin Hopkins — both veterans — in October. Their arrivals boosted a unit that steadily improved but still finished near the bottom in the NFL’s overall rankings.

Last month, coach Brandon Staley decided to make a change, dismissing Swinton and special teams assistant Mayur Chaudhari.

Nearly a USC Trojan, maybe even a Charger, Tom Brady found his way into the story of L.A. football right up until the week before he retired.