The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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January 7, 2013

National seach planned for MSU head football coach

MANKATO — The acting head football coach at Minnesota State University is being named the interim head coach, effective Wednesday, and a national search for the position is planned, MSU officials said.

Aaron Keen has been acting head coach since former head coach Todd Hoffner was placed on administrative leave after university staff discovered video of naked children on his work cellphone.  Child pornography charges were filed against him. The charges later were dropped.

Hoffner was hoping to be reinstated as head coach, but MSU officials reassigned him as assistant athletic director.

Keen’s new title comes with an annual salary of $101,109. His previous salary as associate head coach/offensive coordinator was $56,265.

Hoffner is taking part in the American Football Coaches Association Convention this week in Nashville, which could mean his 20-day suspension did not go into effect Monday as expected. Previously, the Inter Faculty Organization reported Hoffner would be put on a 20-day suspension beginning Monday.

It’s unclear whether the suspension was postponed. Hoffner declined to be interviewed.

But Kevin Buisman, director of athletics, confirmed Hoffner is taking part in the convention with other MSU coaching staff, including Keen.

Connie Howard, IFO general counsel, couldn’t be reached for comment regarding the status of Hoffner’s suspension. Nor could Hoffner’s attorney, Chris Madel.

Dan Benson, director of media relations at MSU, said there is still an investigation pending with regard to Hoffner, and data privacy laws prevent the university from commenting. Benson pointed out that the university never stated when or if Hoffner would be put on suspension and can’t comment on the matter now.

Benson said what he can say is that Hoffner is employed by MSU as the assistant athletic director.

Keen just completed his second season with the MSU football staff. Both years he served as associate head coach/offensive coordinator.

As the acting head coach for the 2012 season, Keen led the Mavericks to the best season in school history. MSU finished 13-1, earning a berth in the NCAA Division II national semifinals.

The Mavericks hosted three NCAA playoff games at Blakeslee Stadium after going undefeated in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference action in capturing the 2012 league title with an 11-0 mark.

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