The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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April 16, 2014

Latest: Mankato football players meet Hoffner, say they want Keen back as coach



"It feels refreshing to be back on campus," he said. "The campus is very vibrant and alive. It's a great feeling to walk these hallways again."

Hoffner said he was going to re-enter the program "one day at a time."

"Like any coach, my job is to treat the student-athletes with respect and provide some consistency ... You try to help these young men become better athletes, better students and better people. I want to absorb as much as I can and try to help make us better."

Hoffner, who had a 34-13 record in four seasons at Minnesota State, said he doesn't have any plans for staff changes, saying there are other Minnesota State officials who will have to approve or deny any moves. There is a spot open on the staff because special teams coordinator Ron Planz left last month to be the head coach at Elmhurst College.

"I will bring forward recommendations of how I want things to go, and then it's up to the administration to see that vision or work with me on a different vision," said Hoffner, who attended most of the Mavericks' games last fall.

"I don't know how this transition will go," he said Wednesday morning. "If we all go into this with the right mindset, we can all move forward and get this behind us and focus on what needs to be done in the future."

As Hoffner walked from the parking lot toward the Minnesota State football offices around noon, he ran into Darius Claire, who will be a senior tight end on the team this fall.

"He gave me a big hug and welcomed me back," said Hoffner, sporting his Minnesota State jacket. "That made me feel good. I don't know if every person will feel that way."

Staff Writer Courrier contributed to this story.

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