EDITORIAL, OPINION, TOP STORIES — December 4, 2012 4:17 pm

BRING HOFFNER BACK

By Ryan Lund

The nightmare is over. For the first time in 4 months, the Hoffner family can breathe a collective sigh of relief; after a long night of controversy they can begin to rebuild.

And in the midst of that rebuilding, as his family attempts to reconcile the events of the last year, Todd Hoffner deserves better.

Yes, the veteran head coach is a free man, or at least, as free as a man can be after having his reputation thoroughly shredded, his name dragged through the proverbial mud like so many displaced nose tackles attempting to slow the crushing advance of a national media juggernaut intent on driving it to the turf.

Hoffner, however, is not quite free, not yet.

The head coach’s saga, which began with his abrupt dismissal from practice Aug. 17, will live on as the constant spectacle that it became, and that it continues to be.

The veteran head coach will continue to live with the far-reaching consequences of a pair of innocuous videos, absentmindedly recorded to his school-issued cell phone, for the rest of his career, and very likely the rest of his life.

While District Court Judge Krista Jass delivered a strongly worded dismissal of the controversial case last week, a proclamation that should have brought an abrupt end to the proceedings, the case lives on in what Minnesota State University, Mankato has dubbed an “internal investigation” into the matter.

That’s right, while his team stands on the cusp of a historic national title, undefeated and seemingly undeterred by the alleged scandal that leveled their head coach, their leaders continues to wait.

Assistant Blue Earth County Attorney Mike Hanson had noble goals, to save the Hoffner children from what he deemed a sexually abusive home environment, from the perceived danger of a father who has been proven guilty of nothing more than a slight lapse in judgment in where he chose to leave his private family moments.

In doing so, however, he has succeeded in condemning the Hoffner children to a childhood of questions, of unnecessary controversy.  From the trauma of the courtroom, to questions about their father’s imprisonment, Hanson’s zeal has damaged them far more effectively than a university-issued cell phone ever could.

This appears to be the consequence of a post-Paterno world, one where the mere suggestion that children may have been harmed is enough to ignite a judgmental firestorm, courtroom be damned.

The Huffington Post certainly didn’t wait, nor did ESPN, where the initial story was breaking news, while his exoneration has been inexplicably downgraded to back-page status.

The assembled members of the media, despite our perceived roles as judge, jury and frequently as executioner, are often far more reluctant to take the defensive.

Condemnation, it would seem, makes for a more compelling headline.

The circus, however, has finally come to a halt.  The media’s role in Todd Hoffner’s story is largely over, just as Mike Hanson’s is.

The prosecutor is off to greener convictions, while the assembled national media shuffle off in vaguely disguised disappointment, sharpening their keyboards for another day.

MSU, on the other hand, insists on keeping the Hoffners’ nightmare alive, all while his team continues down the road to a national title.

The school that should have been in Hoffner’s corner, that should have wiped his bloodied brows between bouts and lifted his spirits when the odds appeared to lengthen, should be rallying behind him now, welcoming its wrongly accused head coach back into the fold with open arms, to share in the very success that he was so fundamental in orchestrating.

Contractual issues and closed-door legal issues aside, Hoffner deserves the support of the “#MavFam” that the school’s Twitter account has been promoting throughout the Mavericks’ playoff run.

Todd Hoffner, father, deserved better then; Todd Hoffner, coach, deserves better now.

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24 Comments

  • This was a well thought out and well written article. Bring Coach Hoffner back and make this situation right again. You are only prolonging the nightmare for this family and it should be unacceptable to all the students and staff at this University to see this continue.

  • President Davenport, The time is now to step forward and be part of the solution and not the problem. How Mr Hanson or Mr Arneson can get up in the morning and look into the mirror and feel good is beyond me. I believe you are more of a man and its time to stand up and do the right thing and do it now. Enough damage has been done to MSU, the Hoffners and we saw the County Attorneys office self destruct. Please put a end to this now!

  • Thank you for writing this spot on article! BRING COACH HOFFNER BACK NOW!!!

  • Let the healing begin. Reinstate Coach Hoffner. This man has been found guilty of nothing.

  • I agree with both Mr. Rockwood and Mr. Terrell lets put an end to this nightmare soon!!!! Ryan You are a great writer. Lets keep the support coming and with all the support hopefully this nightmare does come to an end once and for all!!!

  • I agree. Please, MSU, put Coach Hoffner back to work with the team he built. Do it today. It would be a shame for them to have to be without the coach they love at a time when they should be able to celebrate their hard work together.

  • May the powers that be at Minnesota State University, have the same amount of intelligence as Judge Jass. Good grief, folks! Are kids simply not allowed to be naked anymore?

  • The court has declared Todd Hoffner innocent. Does the university not respect the court? Who are they to decide that they have the right to second guess the court and have their own investigation? I understand that they felt this was necessary in the beginning of this nightmare. After all they are suppose to protect their students and of coarse they want to protect their behind legally, but this is legally over now! If you are looking to give example to your students what happened? You are now showing them that it is OK to not have respect for law? This is still America and we do have a constitution. You have no right to cause further damage and pain for this family! Do the right thing. Todd Hoffner made your winning team what it is today.

  • The Hoffners have been through enough and they have held strong. However, there is really no just reason that Todd Hoffner should not be reinstated. He is an excellent coach and an amazing human being who does not deserve this treatment. More importantly, he does not deserve this treatment from a University and community that he has already given so much to.

  • Todd Hoffner deserves the opportunity to go back to work. I would think that over 100 days would be sufficient enough time to conduct an “internal investigation”. It is time to right this wrong. Reinstate Coach Hoffner today.

  • Great article. Couldn’t have said it better. Coach Hoffner let the world know he is ready to go back to work, now MSU can step in and let the world know he has been punished long enough. This team is ready for their coach! After all, he did hand pick this team!

  • Coach Todd Hoffner is innocent of all charges. The longer this goes on, the more embarrassing it is to the university. Where is the leadership?

  • Todd Hoffner has proven that he is innocent and is ready to move forward. MSU needs to reinstate him immediately and begin mending fences. You owe it to him, his family and the players who were brought here to play football under his leadership.

  • Excellent article. What else is there to prove? MSU you need to step up to the plate and end this. Reinstate Coach Hoffner and let him do what he does best. You owe it to him and he deserves it!

  • Great article!
    Todd Hoffner lives for his family and football. The judge dropped the charges so now MSU it´s your turn. Let Coach Hoffner do what he loves to do- COACH! Reinstate Coach Hoffner

  • Do the right thing and let Coach Hoffner start coaching the Mav’s football team again. He is innocent!

  • Every day that passes without reinstating Todd simply adds to the long list of poor decisions the University has and continues to make throughout this whole ordeal. Fess up MSU, you handled this situation horribly, turned an entire family’s life upside down, and now you sit on your hands unsure of what to do next. Not only would it be good for PR, but regardless of taking any ancillary affects into consideration – IT IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO!

    • I believe the University is trying to come up with another way to terminate Coach Hoffner. Trying to find another way to drag him and his family through another unnecessary ordeal instead of doing the right thing. The President could end this right now and reinstate Todd, but he stands by as others who have made wrong decisions from the beginning continue to make even more bad decisions now. Is this the legacy he wants to leave at MSU? A lawsuit that the University will clearly lose and cost the taxpayers even more money? National publicity that will make the University look incredibly stupid, arrogant and in the end – WRONG!!! And all Coach Hoffner wants, at this point, is just his job back and to get back to a somewhat normal life. That shows the character he has, the University now has an opportunity to show the character they have or don’t have…

  • Please do the right thing and put Todd Hoffner back where he belongs—Coaching the MAV’s–this has been a mess from the start –please do the right thing for Coach Hoffner—WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR????HE IS INNOCENT–

  • Hasn’t this gone on long enough? Reinstate CoAch Hoffner immediately.

  • Like everyone else here, I’m confused on why it takes a short amount of time to accuses Todd, but when the court throws out the case the school does nothing. It doesn’t take this long to do an investigation (The school has had since Aug) Do the right thing, and reinstate Todd. You’ve already put his family through hell.

  • Obviously your first intention was to wait until after the season to make any decision….well the season is over :( Bring back our coach, the one who made and guided these young kids into great citizens this town could embrace. It was a mistake the U made, blowing this whole ordeal out of whack. Your quick judgement the first time around should mean that you could render a quicker verdict this time……well what are we waiting for?

  • I think it is time to re-instate Coach Hoffner. He deserves to be with the team he built.

  • Please stop dragging your soposedly educated feet. Finalize your ‘ internal investigation ‘ and bring Coach Hoffner back.

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