Ex-Minnesota State, Mankato coach Hoffner gets emotional as he announces his return

  • Article by: JENNIFER BROOKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 16, 2014 - 8:27 AM

Minnesota State apologizes to Todd Hoffner after he announces his return.

Former Minnesota State University, Mankato head football coach Todd Hoffner is returning to the job, and the life, he lost two years ago.

Fighting tears, Hoffner told a throng of reporters Tuesday that he would be leaving his new post at Minot State to return to the head coaching job at Mankato, the university that fired him — wrongly, an arbitrator ruled last week — after he was cleared of all suspicion that videos he shot of his young children at bath time were some sort of child pornography.

In the end, Hoffner said, returning to work at Minnesota State is what he wanted all along. All he hoped to get out of the ordeal, he said, is a whistle and a hat that says “Mavericks.”

“I’m a football coach,” said Hoffner, flanked by his wife, Melodee, and his attorneys. “I intend to resume my duties tomorrow at Minnesota State University, Mankato and Mavericks football. From here on out, I hope that I only have to talk at news conferences about the Mavericks football team and our success.”

The announcement brought Hoffner full circle, after two harrowing years that began when university staff found videos on his work phone of his three children, then ages 5 to 9 years old, dancing and performing skits after a bath in the family’s whirlpool tub. The videos set off a chain reaction that led to Hoffner being charged with two counts of child pornography — charges a judge threw out as baseless, calling the home movies innocent.

Still, the university decided to suspend, then fire, Hoffner.

“Two years ago, I sat in a jail cell overnight, in an orange jumpsuit, wondering why,” Hoffner said. “First there was shock, then there was fear, then there was anger, then ultimately I pulled myself together to work toward results, and that’s where we are today. … I feared that I’d never get to do what I love to do, which is coach football, ever again.”

Difficult choice

It was a difficult decision to leave Minot, where Hoffner has family and where the university had stepped up to welcome him after Mankato let him go.

Although Hoffner has been coaching at the North Dakota school for the past two months, his wife and children were still in Mankato, factoring in to his decision.

“My family lives there, we have roots there, I helped grow the program to a national power,” he said.

He hopes that returning to his old job will be the first step in helping his family heal.

As of the news conference, no one at the university had ever apologized, he said. That apology came an hour later, in the form of a brief news release issued by university officials.

“We have learned that Mr. 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,” the statement said.

The news release concluded: “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.”

Hoffner, who said he is “not a vindictive and spiteful person,” said he didn’t want to force an apology out of the school. His legal team, however, wanted an apology and more.

“Todd’s not a spiteful person. I am,” said attorney Christopher Madel, whose law firm handled the case for free. “Somebody needs to be held accountable for this … What has been done to this family … is wrong.”

Arbitrator backs coach

  • related content

  • April 11: Dismissed MSU-Mankato coach wins ruling

    Friday April 11, 2014

    An arbitrator ruled Minnesota State University-Mankato was wrong to dismiss Todd Hoffner after he was cleared of child pornography charges stemming from nude images of his kids on his cellphone.

  • Todd Hoffner

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 106 FINAL
Boston 101
Philadelphia 74 FINAL
Indiana 94
Portland 110 FINAL
Sacramento 99
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Orlando 83
Oklahoma City 108 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Denver 92
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 3 FINAL
Florida 4
Columbus 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Toronto 0 FINAL
Washington 4
Anaheim 3 FINAL
Dallas 1
St. Louis 2 2nd Prd 9:45
Vancouver 3
SMU 73 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
Fairfield 56 FINAL
Niagara 57
Marist 49 FINAL
Rider 59
Iona 60 FINAL
Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
South Florida 55 FINAL
Houston 72
Marquette 66 FINAL
Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 66 FINAL
Wake Forest 69
Oregon 73 FINAL
Stanford 70
Purdue 61 FINAL
Ohio State 65
Arizona State 81 2nd Half 0:09
Colorado 85
Washington St 45 2nd Half 11:41
UCLA 46
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
UMBC 73
Elon 65 FINAL
Hofstra 58
Virginia Tech 47 FINAL
Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
West Virginia 76
Creighton 53 FINAL
Villanova 61
Seton Hall 85 FINAL
Butler 76
UNC-Wilmington 76 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 65
(5) Maryland 69 FINAL
(25) Northwestern 48
Saint Josephs 67 FINAL
La Salle 55
Louisiana Tech 53 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 60
Rhode Island 70 FINAL
Massachusetts 78
Richmond 55 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 49
Davidson 46 FINAL
Fordham 54
St Bonaventure 43 FINAL
Duquesne 51
George Mason 45 FINAL
(22) George Washington 80
Indiana 60 FINAL
(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
Saint Peters 47 FINAL
Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
NC State 60
Wisconsin 62 FINAL
Penn State 56
Stony Brook 49 FINAL
Hartford 56
Northeastern 47 FINAL
William & Mary 62
St Johns 61 FINAL
Xavier 74
James Madison 74 FINAL
Delaware 71
Towson 45 FINAL
Drexel 50
Illinois State 50 FINAL
Bradley 60
Southern Ill 74 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 70
Northern Iowa 54 FINAL
Wichita State 66
Minnesota 76 FINAL
(17) Iowa 92
(15) North Carolina 80 FINAL
(16) Duke 81
Alabama 73 FINAL
Auburn 80
(9) Florida State 69 FINAL
Miami-Florida 55
Arkansas 41 FINAL
Missouri 57
Georgia 52 FINAL
Florida 45
Dayton 95 FINAL
Saint Louis 68
Drake 57 FINAL
Missouri State 86
Colorado 46 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 59
(19) Stanford 55 FINAL
Oregon 62
Marquette 82 FINAL
DePaul 99
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 60
Vanderbilt 49 FINAL
(6) Tennessee 79
(2) South Carolina 56 FINAL
(13) Kentucky 67
Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close