By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
MANKATO — Todd Hoffner, the head football coach at Minnesota State University until he was placed on administrative leave in August, has been named the university’s assistant athletic director for facilities development.
The announcement was made in a press release from MSU which was issued late Friday night.
According to the release, MSU will be “evaluating possible upgrading or replacement of Blakeslee Stadium, as well as evaluating other athletic and recreation facility needs at the university in the coming years. Hoffner will report to Richard Straka, MSU’s vice president for finance and administration.”
The new assignment takes effect immediately.
Hoffner did not return requests for comment left on his cell phone voice mail Friday night but, according to a story in the StarTribune of Minneapolis, his civil attorney, Chris Madel, said Hoffner doesn't intend to abide by the university's decision.
"We intend to fight the university until Mr. Hoffner is restored as head coach of the successful football team he created," Madel was quoted in the StarTribune story.
Hoffner was cleared last month of felony child pornography charges for recording videos on his university cell phone of his naked children dancing. The charges were dropped when District Court Judge Krista Jass reviewed the videos and concluded they didn’t contain anything illegal.
Earlier this month, university officials said Hoffner’s administrative leave had expired on Dec. 17 but he was not reinstated as head football coach at that time. Instead, a university press release said Hoffner remained on the MSU payroll but was being placed on a 20-day unpaid suspension starting Jan. 7.
An attorney with the Inter Faculty Organization, which is the union that represents Hoffner, said the suspension is being challenged. The release also indicated that the university is still investigating a complaint against Hoffner.
On Thursday it was revealed that Hoffner has filed a civil lawsuit asking a judge to keep investigative reports from a dismissed criminal case sealed from the public. Judge Jass has granted a temporary injunction that seals the reports until they can be reviewed.
The most recent university press release says Aaron Keen remains acting head football coach for the Mavericks. MSU will be making additional decisions regarding the head football coach position in the coming weeks.”