Todd Hoffner is Minnesota State Mankato's coach once again.
After he lost his job at the Division II school in 2012 over pictures of his children on his phone, an arbitrator ruled last week that Hoffner was wrongfully dismissed. On Tuesday, Hoffner announced his intention to return to the school despite taking the head coaching position at Minot State in January.
"I'm eager to return to the game and the program that I helped build," Hoffner said (via Fox 9). "This is what I wanted from day one, and now I have that opportunity to go back, and I believe it is the right thing to do."
In 2012, Hoffner's school-issued phone broke and he took it to the IT department to get it fixed. A member of the IT department saw a video of his three children dancing around naked after a bath and reported the video.
Hoffner was subsequently suspended from his position in August, 2012 and charged with possession of child pornography. The charges were dropped three months later, but Hoffner was reassigned within the athletic department.
Minnesota State issued a statement apologizing to Hoffner.
"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," the statement said. "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."
Hoffner said at his news conference Tuesday that he wasn't interested in revenge after officially getting fured at Minnesota State in May after being suspended and reassigned.
Both parties declined comment when asked by the AP if settlement discussions for Hoffner not to return to Minnesota State had occurred. Hoffner was due to make $90,000 at Minot State while he made just over $105,000 at Minnesota State.
In the arbitrator's ruling, the school said Hoffner was originally fired because someone viewed pornography on his work-issued laptop and that his wife had also used it. The arbitrator ruled there was no proof Hoffner viewed the images and that his wife's usage of the computer wasn't grounds for termination.
We understand Hoffner's desire to go back to the school he invested so much time at, though it looks like an awkward situation for all involved. Minnesota State could have brought him back without an arbitrator but chose not to do so. Meanwhile, Minot State, understanding Hoffner's situation, hired him and gave him a second chance on his coaching career.
But now Minot State is without a head coach and Hoffner is back at the school where he compiled a 34-13 record but may not have treated him fairly. After all he went through, Hoffner is the only one who truly knows what the best decision is. We'll trust him on it, but we also feel for Minot State's newfound predicament.
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