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Hoffner leaves Minot State, returns to Mankato

MINNEAPOLIS — Todd Hoffner, the former Minnesota State-Mankato football coach who was fired over pornography allegations, will return to Mankato, he announced Tuesday.

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He will leave the head coaching job at Minot State University.

A recent arbitration ruling made his return to Mankato possible.

Hoffner, 47, made the announcement at his attorneys’ office in Minneapolis.

“My hope is to put this behind me as I take this step,” Hoffner said. “I intend to make every effort to resume normal, working relationships.”

Hoffner was hired as head football coach at Minot State in January.

“We understand this is a tough situation for Todd and his family, and we also understand you have to do what is best for your family, not just yourself,” Minot State athletic director Rick Hedberg said in a news release.

MSU-Mankato fired Hoffner last May. He had been accused, and later cleared, of having pornographic images of his own children on a work cellphone.

Hoffner was fired for allegedly viewing pornography or allowing someone else to view pornography on his university-issued computers. The arbitrator ruled those were not firing offenses. Hoffner had already filed grievances after being suspended and reassigned. He filed another grievance after he was fired.

Last week, an arbitrator ruled that Hoffner was unfairly fired and ordered the school to rehire him or pay the difference of his $90,000 contract with Minot State and other expenses. His contract at MSU-Mankato was for $101,109 per year.

Hoffner said the school has not apologized to him. He said MSU-Mankato is “a beautiful place and it will be refreshing to return.”

After Hoffner’s announcement, MSU-Mankato released a statement on behalf of President Richard Davenport:

“We have learned that Mr. Todd Hoffner intends to return to Minnesota State Mankato tomorrow and we welcome him back to his position as head football coach. This has been a difficult journey for all involved.

“We extend our apologies to Mr. Hoffner and deeply regret the difficulties he and his family have experienced this past year and a half. It is our sincere hope that all concerned can now find ways to move forward for the sake of the Hoffner family, student athletes, the university, and the community.”

Hedberg said Minot State was aware of there was a possibility Hoffner would be offered his job back.

“He assured us that he was committed to Minot State and to starting new, and that we would be the school that not only gave him a second chance to start over, but in his long-term plans,” Hedberg said. “It’s unfortunate that didn’t turn out.”

The Mankato Free Press and Minot Daily News contributed to this report

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