Hill-Murray High School football coach Mark Mauer was arrested Tuesday evening by Fridley police during a prostitution sting.
Mauer, 54, of Woodbury, was one of 19 men and four women arrested in a two-day sting at the LivINN Hotel on Central Avenue NE., officials said. The women are charged with prostitution and the men with soliciting.
The suspects, none of whom live in Fridley, were booked Friday at the Anoka County jail.
Mauer, a member of a St. Paul clan well-known for its athletic success — Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer is his cousin — was named coach at Hill-Murray last year and served as a major-gifts officer at the Catholic school in Maplewood.
According to the police report, Mauer arrived at the hotel Tuesday evening after making a date on the phone with an undercover officer, in response to an escort ad placed on an adult website. He agreed to pay her $100 for sexual intercourse, then left the room to get the money and was arrested.
Mauer told police that he was just “messing around,” that it was “stupid” to have gone there and that he had not intended to return when he left the room. Police said he was carrying Viagra pills.
In Mauer’s first season last year at Hill-Murray, he coached the Pioneers to an 8-3 record and the state tournament, where they lost a Class 4A quarterfinal to Holy Family.
He was head coach at Concordia University in St. Paul from 2004 to 2010 and compiled 40 victories, the most in the school’s history. Under Mauer, the team won its conference championship in 2005 and made two minor bowl appearances.
For a very brief time, Mauer was a St. Paul City Council member. After working as an aide to Council Member Dino Guerin, a childhood friend, Mauer was named to the council in 1997 when Guerin resigned to join the Ramsey County Board. But he canceled plans to run for the seat when, only a month later, he was offered a job as an assistant coach at North Dakota State University.
Mauer was a star quarterback at Harding High School in St. Paul and played football and baseball at the University of Nebraska. He has also worked as an assistant football coach at the University of Wisconsin and New Mexico State University.
This is the third time in recent years that a Hill-Murray employee has been accused of illegal sexual conduct. In 2010, former school president Joseph Peschges pleaded guilty to indecent conduct in connection with a police sting in a St. Paul park. Matthew Ricker, a former assistant boys basketball coach at Hill-Murray, pleaded guilty in 2007 to harassment for sending explicit messages to three players.