The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

April 17, 2014

Update: Football players, Hoffner ready to practice again (video)

Thursday meeting allowed all to be heard

MANKATO — A day after the Minnesota State football players revolted and said they wanted their coach for the past two seasons to continue his duties — and not the recently reinstated Todd Hoffner — emotions have cooled.

At a news conference Thursday involving Hoffner, associate head coach Aaron Keen, MSU athletic director Kevin Buisman and player representative Sam Thompson, all parties said they are ready to move forward with the program and play football.

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A day earlier, Thompson read a statement on the MSU football practice field backed by his teammates saying they wanted to "show our support (for) having Aaron Keen as the head football coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato."

Thompson didn't do a complete about-face on Thursday but definitely tempered the stance of the student athletes. During the press conference he said all the players really wanted was to have a say.

"We wanted our voice to be heard (Wednesday) about our support for Aaron Keen and for our desire for a more robust communication channel be opened between the players," Thompson read from a prepared statement at the media gathering.

Keen has been interim head coach the past two seasons but became the associate head coach/offensive coordinator again when Hoffner decided to return.

After an early morning meeting Thursday involving the players, the coaches and athletic director, Thompson said a healthy dialogue took place and everyone was prepared to concentrate on football.

"We received the answers we were looking for, feel fit to practice and welcome coach Hoffner as we head toward the end of spring drills," he said.

A week ago an arbitrator ruled that Minnesota State was wrong to suspend, reassign and finally fire Hoffner last May and should reinstate him as head football coach.

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