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Yohanes Ashenafi, MSU Reporter

Dressed in street clothes and MSU football apparel, the bulk of the Mavericks football team made a public announcement in showing support of former acting head coach Aaron Keen and announced that they would not practice today — the first practice since the return of head coach Todd Hoffner.

In a statement read aloud by junior safety Sam Thompson, the team spoke: “As a collective unit, we’ve all agreed that we will stick together and show our support in having Aaron Keen as the head football coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato.”

Thompson continued: “We’ve all become outstanding community members, students and athletes in the last year and a half since the removal of Todd Hoffner. Throughout this process, we have been silent, it is time our voice is heard.”

“We want information, we want answers, because this is our team. As a unit we have decided not to practice, because of the change-up in the coaching situation.”

The last line from the statement made the player’s intention clear as Thompson read aloud: “We want Aaron Keen as the head coach,” as the rebelled players stormed off the field.

Only three players showed up in regular practice clothing, freshmen Kyle Schuh and Luke Wendricks, and junior Kaleb Wendricks.

Hoffner and the mutinied members of the team declined to comment after the statement.

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  • Their voices should be heard!!! Great job guys! Proud fan!

    • Good point Blaine! Players should run the team, not the coaches or the administration. The players should also get to vote on the play call before every snap, organize practices, and heck… change the mascot too, way to many teams with the Mavericks as their mascot. What is a Maverick anyway?

    • On the contrary, as an MSU graduate and former athlete, I am ASHAMED of these young men’s actions. Do they not understand the justice system? Coach K. is great. No question- but the greater picture is justice for a man who lost his job UNJUSTLY! This is not lost on the outside world, nor should it be on Coach K. He is the key to solving this issue. Last year was a great year on the field. The bigger picture is the life lessons these young men must learn. And they have not done so yet. An apology from the same young man who read their ill-conceived statement yesterday AND a statement from Coach K. should set things right. And things should be right with Coach Hoffner. What would these same young men want if THEY were falsely accused? NOT THIS.

      • Did you consider that it may not have to do with the court case, but the fact that he abandoned Minot and displaced their current coach? How many assistant coaches and players lives did he mess up up by leaving Minot and inserting himself back at Mankato? Hoffner is the one who needed to be taught a “bigger picture life lesson”, and I applaud these kids for giving it to him.

  • Rugby Practice 3-5pm Tuesdays and Thursdays behind the former Gage Towers if any football players still want to tackle while out of practice!

  • CRY BABIES. if they don’t want to play, well turn in the uniform, give up your free ride scholarships, and move on. this is COACH Hoffner team, these players need to shut the hell up and either play or get off the team. not a big deal, their will be others who would love to get the free rides..

    • You think every football player at MSU gets a free ride? lol….because MSU is a top school to recruit for the NFL, I really don’t care either way, but your ignorance made me laugh

      • most of the starters get a free ride thoros you make me laugh cause your ignorant ass

        • you should do some reasearch on schools and scholarships before you call people ignorant…. especially if you go to mankato. you are paying for a good chunk of these scolarships

        • being a former division 2 football player, a lot of us players got less than half of tuition covered. Division 2 football teams are limited to 36 scholarships a year. So, do some research before you say anything.

  • Not sure how long this’ll last, but the players don’t decide who the coach is. I have no problem with their protest…will be interesting to see how this plays out. The coach is the coach – move on if you must. Sounds like there are at least three freshmen to build around. Lol

  • “We’ve all become outstanding community members, students and athletes in the last year and a half since the removal of Coach Hoffner,” and humble Christians, too. Under the Satanic Coach Hoffner, they were all drunken pedophiles held under his spell, but now they have become members of Mankato’s Christian coalition where gay children have been cast out of the local churches and where godless teachers of evolution are held in check. The football team has attained straight A’s in all their cultural diversity classes, except for the three decadent athletes who showed up for practice. They are still the same old sinners and scholars of the literature of Sinclair Lewis that they have always been.

    No wonder why I didn’t see one editorial from any of the humanities professors on campus. It is Napoleonic law back there: Coach Hoffner is still guilty of some inscrutable scarlet letter of a local crime. Well, the comedy continues. Minot sounds pretty good right now. Mankato is no loss.

    Sorry I bothered. I can see now how deluded I was as it all just unfolded before my eyes right now. How embarrassing for me. I knew something was wrong when not one lousy liberal professor stood up for anything I had said: there are no lousy liberal professors back there. Quick, hire a lousy liberal professor. We need some diversity here.

    • You’re a moron

    • How is this relevant? And Throwing low blows by judging these student athletes about their movement based off your religious beliefs is highly unprofessional. With all do respects to your religious beliefs, I’m pretty sure religion had nothing to do with this.

      Not letting these athletes speak out would almost be a crime. This team had a remarkable season with phenomenal stats all without Coach Hoffman. Regardless of being found guilty or not.

    • …..and you’re point, misspoken sarcasm aside, is??????

    • So because of the “lousy liberal professors,” the football team is screwed up? Wow. Nice, flawed, childish thinking there. Dickensian logic in this case does nothing to assist. I never learned ANYTHING from a “lousy conservative professor” These kids are just plain wrong. It’s up to Coach Keen to calm the waters. It really is.

      • Sorry Tom. I seemed to have not taken the course called Dickensian Logic 101 from MSU’s stellar conservative professors in the Philosophy Department. The next time I am in Dodge I will check it out. Lighten up a little, please, because you are absolutely right about Coach Kleen. He needs to say something. I am betting that he will. I hope he will.

      • There are no liberal professors at MSU. If there were, they would have been outspoken about what has been a major human rights violation, You would see their names on this board. Where are they?

  • I’m really proud of you guys for doing what you feel is right for the team! Keep your heads up.

  • I think there is a great follow-up opportunity here for an intrepid Reporter staffer or two.

    In their statement, the players claim they “have become outstanding community members, students and athletes” since Hoffner was removed from his position. (Implies they were not outstanding community members, students and athletes prior to Hoffner’s exit, but I don’t suspect that’s what was meant.)

    Why not examine this statement a little closer? What was the average GPA for the “collective unit” under Hoffner and Keen? Whose teams volunteered the most community service hours? Whose teams had the most arrests? There are many ways the claim can be measured. Could make for an interesting piece.

    • Another question I have is whether or not these athletes spoke to Keen and/or Buisman before making a statement to the media? It might be uncomfortable putting them in that position, but it’s an important question that should be addressed.

    • I’m glad you caught onto that as well… that was the biggest and really only thing that majorly stuck out to me!

  • Then forfeit your scholarships and move on. Players don’t run a team. It is only your team on rent for four to five years at best. Alumni here as well. Not proud of kids who think they call the shots. You may like your new coaches but the cause of that relationship dynamics is not the fault of TH so don’t punish him.

  • Today was an embarrassing moment for this football team. If they are such self proclaimed “outstanding citizens”. Then I would hope that part of their civic duty would be respecting the laws of our community. The last time I checked coach Hoffner was not found guilty of anything and was found to have been removed improperly. In my opinion they should be given one chance to re think their actions and if they decide to stay their present course they should be escorted off the campus. I applauded the three players that showed up ready to practice they get it.

    • The students have broken no law or civic duty. They publicly stated their opinion that Keen should remain the coach. It would be illegal to ‘escort them off campus’ as they are still students at a public institution. Such an insinuation is offensive and outrageous.

  • Who died and made the players God? The man was found innocent of all charges. Go back home and give up your scholarships. What a bunch of simpletons.

  • D2 players are not getting free rides, they get partial scholarships. Maybe 1 or 2 get a full ride, but doubtful. Having played for Hoffner at Eau Claire when he replaced Bob Nielson, I would stand with these players. I would rather have ANY other coach.

    • And also having played for him at UWEC, this is crap. If Keen is such a “character driven” coach as these guys claim, he would know enough to never have let this happen.

  • I’m guessing the people who commented against the team aren’t and probably have never been athletes. I see how someone who previously played for or supported Hoffner would be upset, but a football team becomes a pretty much like a second family and after a year and half Keen has become the clear leader of that group of men. To have the head of your program booted out of his position and not be upset would be crazy. Definitely not Hoffners fault and ya gotta feel for the guy but it’s clear he is no longer the leader of that team.

    • Not a nice assumption. I was a student-athlete at MSU, and I think their anger should be at the administration for allowing it to come to this.

  • yes, hoffner was replaced by an assistant. He was cleared of all allegations. And chose to come back to mankato. The football team can also be replaced as well as Davenport.

  • This is not about the alleged crime. It’s about players wanting to play for a coach they love, respect, and admire instead of a coach they have come to despise from his coaching, and not his conduct off the field.

  • “We want information, we want answers, because this is our team.” Why? Are you guys going to conduct you own investigation? Laughable. Empathy is a great life lesson. This is not a popularity contest. It is a legal issue.

    • Well considering no one had a meeting with them, no one told them the situation until the day prior, no one treated them like the legal adults they are, I understand their frustration.

  • The last two years they are 24-2.

  • Perry you could not be further from the truth. I am a former two time AA at Mankato and friends with many Alumni Athletes from MSU as well. I have yet to see one comment from any if them that support what these KIDS are doing. The time to speak up was two years ago.

  • Hoffner needs to get out of the conservative Midwest: Mankato, Minnesota, Minot, North Dakota–what is he doing? A man of his talent should be able to find something in relatively liberal communities in California, Oregon or Washington, or out East somewhere.

  • This is simply embarrassing. These athletes need to realize that Hoffner didn’t put them in this situation; Davenport did. I hope that by seeking additional answers that they’re also calling for his resignation for the way things have gotten out of hand.

  • As a former college athlete I am sickened by the entitlement attitude of these athletes. You are not the leaders of the program, you are the followers, the followers of whoever the university chooses to lead this program. Grow up and know your role you spoiled brats. If you are that upset give up your scholarships and walk, if you don’t have the guts to do that you should have stopped playing football after high school.

  • These student athletes are given an education in exchange for the right to be a part of a team. They do not get the right to take over the class room or the team so either suit up and play or get out!!!!

  • 24-2 with kids recruited under Hoffner

  • What bothers me the most is that Minot gave this guy a job when public perception of him was not good and then all of a sudden he leaves because things were ruled in his favor that said MSN was wrong. One, how ungrateful is this guy when given a second chance? Doesn’t say much for his character and not a good message to his athletes. Second, why would one want to go back and work for someone that dragged your name and reputation through the mud.

    • Exactly! This guy made a commitment not just to the school but to the players and assistants in Minot. Not to mention the mess he has now made in Mankato by going back. He claimed he was grateful to Minot for giving him a second chance and insisted the school was part of his “long term” plans. His true character has now come out and I find myself thinking that maybe administrators were right to fire him. After all, just because they didn’t have enough legal grounds to fire him doesn’t mean they didn’t have valid reasons. I’m not saying they were absolutely in the right, but for the first time since the firing I am open to the possibility.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. Minot State University is being treated unfairly because of this situation as well.

  • I think that the MSU football team thinks too highly of themselves that they are above any other team that has a coach they don’t like. GET REAL, so many teams have coaches that they dislike. That is not a reason to boycott against someone who was falsely accused of something. MSU football is the biggest group of cry babies. Literally I am ashamed to say that we are in the same athletics department. I want coach Hoffner pulls all of their scholarships. Like really boys? you think that your parents are going to support you when you lose your scholarship and then your position on a team that did so well the past two years! Good joke. The “boycott” aka tantrum. Will be over as soon as this happens. Cut the whole team, they will have nowhere to go. They can’t transfer within the NSIC for a year and that means they would have to go to another d2 conference or else play d3 or d1. Once again, good luck with that. If you truly cared as much as you claim about this school and about your team going to be “National Champions” you would show up to the field and work your ass off like any other athlete that wants a championship. There is noway that one coach would hold back a “team” from being successful. It is so immature and it directly reflects the people on the team. Congratulations to the three people who showed up wanting to get better and who want to represent MSU. The rest of you, completely pathetic. Champions don’t skip a practice when they don’t get there way.

  • Come on. I’m all for free speech, but there had to be a better way to deal with these “questions”the players had. Coach Keen had to know it was in arbitration, right? Players are loyal to their coach, yes… but the coach is employed by the university. Be loyal to your school that’s paying for your education

  • Nothing says it better than a comments-page full of graduates and underclassmen. Thank you for so many who saw the hypocrisy in supporting the team’s walk out today.
    I am surprised it was not touched on throughout the day: who the hell wants to deal with proving themselves to yet another coach.
    Change is only honored if it is proven worthy. Hoffner knows this. The MSU football players’ opinions will be justified, if not, swept under the rug as naive and presumptuous.

  • This is about the character of Hoffner. He was obviously not wanted at MSU even after the allegations were dropped…The school didn’t want him…based on the kind of person he is. These players were recruited by Hoffner but the majority of them were red shirted and were not coached by him. But, they did get to know him and they did see his character. They were coached by Keen and grew to respect and love him and grew their team based on Keen’s character and abilities to lead. These boys were silenced and never asked how they felt about what was going on. In a 15 minute life changing decision by Hoffner their worlds were turned upside down as well and the media was putting words into the mouths of players who had been silenced. This was their only chance to make a statement. They realize it doesn’t change any court decisions but it was their only opportunity to express themselves and their love for the coach that has given them the tools that got them so far the past two years. If the school wanted Hoffner gone so bad and 90ish football players feel the same way…don’t you think they may all might know what they are talking about? I just pray that perhaps Hoffner will take a look at Keen and realize that he may be able to learn a thing or two about how to be a better coach, a better person and will strive to build the team the way Keen did. Chins up boys.

    • I don’t know who I am talking to here, but your point is well taken. I must admit that he has some rather unorthodox child rearing methods, though I have never seen any evidence that families that are openly nude around the house are doing anything harmful. I mean, if I had a little boy and he came up to me and started playing his penis as if it were a guitar, I might be a little concerned, might stick a book in his hand and tell him to start reading, but that’s just me (Coach Hoffner rather freakishly volunteered this information in an ESPN interview.) My guess is that his kids are probably pretty cool and perhaps a little precocious. I think It would be interesting to find out how well they do in school and how well they get along with the other kids, though, from what I have seen of tolerance in today’s schools, being “normal” might be the last thing you would want your kids to be.

  • If they don’t want to play under Hoffner then turn your uniform in because there are plenty of other young men that would live the opportunity. Since when do players get to pick a coach? It’s not much different than an employee getting to pick their boss, it just doesn’t work that way.

  • Sad story. He is going to wish he stayed in Minot.

  • Get used to it boys. None of us can pick our bosses. Graduate and open your own company and have your employees say “we don’t like you”! Then look back at this decision and let someone else of their choice run your company. Grow up fellas!

  • So, this coach is wrongly accused of pornography charges, he and his family are wrongly run out of town, he is forced to face public humiliation and have his life disected in the media…and now that things are just starting to come together, a bunch of entitled athletes come out and refuse to play division 3 football for this guy..stay classy mankato-stay classy…icing on the sh**cake right there …

  • Has anybody talked to Keen? I would think he should at least have made a statement other than “I’m happy coaching here”. No matter how he feels about this he needs to step up to the mic because he has to realize there is no alternative and it’s in the players’ best interests to stand down. There seems to be a lot of self-entitled stupidity with all parties involved here.

  • They call it the coaches team for a reason

  • There have been many good points made on both sides of this issue. However…. I don’t know why some like to air out their opinions or differences in front of reporters and the press.
    I feel that the athletes should have requested to have a private “team” meeting to air their feelings with both coaches. That way both sides can express their feelings and opinions on the issues that are presented. The way this played out ….only one side said anything.
    It seems too many like to read statements or sign petitions….that way they don’t have to have a mature sit down discussion about the issues.
    After that …you live with the decisions made “by the coaches”.
    All this did was create more unwanted drama for the MSU football program.
    Both sides have gone through enough.

    • Why should they be the ones requesting the meeting? If Hoffner wants to be the coach, he should start coaching and have set up a meeting with the coaches and with the players so everyone got on the same page before a medial laden practice. This is the job he picked, let’s see him do it.

      • SC…. I agree…..Haffner should have called a team meeting right away. Especially if he was aware of this level of animosity towards him.
        I’m not sure that he knew that.
        However….the press should have been avoided. There’s always a right time and a right place to discuss differences. This was not the right way…….just like everything else from day one.

  • It is sad that so many young men were recruited by this team without meeting this coach and getting some insight into his personality, or lack of it in this case. My son was a recruit for this team, lured there by a very high energy, positively motivated “recruiting” coach who came to Illinois. This was our image of the team, this “one guy” and his great personality, unfortunately coach Hoffner had none of those qualities, and absolutely no personality and lacked what I was expecting in the man in charge of leading my son and his team mates through motivation. He did however surround himself with great coaches, and that was the saving grace of this program. Maybe someone else should get a chance to lead these players as they have a commitment to winning, they just need the “right” man to led them there.

  • The community could have been more helpful to coach Hoffner. Perhaps a health center could have offered counseling in his child rearing practices rather than subject the man to a nasty witch hunt.

  • I was also unjustly “let go” by MSU (around this same time) and it had been under investigation for over a year. I know from my past role with the U how illegal and unjust decisions are made. Unfortunately my position didn’t come with the spotlight that a head a football coach does…

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