Todd Hoffner back at MSU-Mankato football practice Wednesday - KMSP-TV

Todd Hoffner back at MSU-Mankato football practice Wednesday

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MANKATO, Minn. (KMSP) -

Todd Hoffner will return to Minnesota State University, Mankato on Wednesday for football practice after an arbitrator ruled he had been wrongly fired by the school.

BACK AT IT

In a news conference on Tuesday, Hoffner, 47, tearfully announced he's "not interested in revenge" and he'd start the next day coaching for the Mavericks. He has a 34-13 record in four seasons at Mankato.

"I'm eager to return to the game and the program that I helped build," Hoffner said. "This is what I wanted from day one, and now I have that opportunity to go back, and I believe it is the right thing to do."

Mankato's athletic director Kevin Buisman will walk with him across the street to this afternoon's practice at 3:30. As it turns out, Buisman is the same athletic director who escorted him off the field in Aug. 2012 when the investigation began. Hoffner will observe practice as he acclimates to the program again.

"I think we've tried to set aside that awkwardness as quickly as possible. I mean, there was a previous working relationship and familiarity. I hired Todd into that position when he first came to Minnesota State," Buisman said. "We're kind of focusing on civility and kind of trying to put the rest of it aside and focus sort of on the reconciliation and healing."

Hoffner's announcement meant he'd be leaving the Minot State football program before coaching a game there after being hired in January. He extended his gratitude at the conference, thanking the program for allowing him in.

RESPECT, FAIRNESS IN THE FUTURE

Former MSU athlete Obie Kipper Jr. was elated and told the Mankato Free Press Hoffner made the right decision, also noting the administration will treat him fairly in the future.

The arbitrator said Hoffner would have to be rehired or the university would have to pay the difference of his $90,000 contract with Minot State University and. His contract at Minnesota State was $105,800 per year.

"He's experienced some success here as a head football coach, his family's established here and we welcome him back," Buisman said.

THE FIRING

The Fox 9 Investigators obtained a copy of the arbitrator's 72-page ruling that sheds light on why the school fired him in the first place.

Hoffner was fired last May after he had been cleared of pornography charges. Prosecutors said Hoffner took cell phone videos of his children while naked. Hoffner said the videos were just "innocent family moments." Blue Earth County District Court Judge Krista Jass dismissed the case for lack of probable cause, saying the videos were of children having harmless fun.

Hoffner was still placed on a 20-day suspension for allegedly misusing a school-issued cell phone that contained images of a man climbing into a pool, but the arbitrator ruled the photos were "benign," "did not constitute misconduct," and therefore an invalid reason for suspension.

Ultimately, the school fired Hoffner claiming he had used a university-issued laptop to access porn, but the arbitrator wrote "none of it was attributable to Hoffner's usage." A computer analyst a high school student was also issued the same laptop and may have been the one that accessed the porn.

The arbitrator also discounted Mankato's accusation that Hoffner had let his kids into the locker room while players were undressing.

APOLOGY, WELCOME BACK

MSU apologized to Hoffner in a statement, and welcomed the coach back to work.

"We have learned that Mr. Hoffner intends to return to Minnesota State Mankato tomorrow and we welcome him back to his position as head football coach," the university said. "This has been a difficult journey for all involved. We extend our apologies to Mr. Hoffner and deeply regret the difficulties he and his family have experienced this past year and a half. It is our sincere hope that all concerned can now find ways to move forward for the sake of the Hoffner family, student athletes, the university, and the community."

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