College football notebook: Coach takes job back after being wrongfully fired

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The coach fired from Minnesota State, Mankato will return to his old job after an arbitrator ruled he was wrongfully terminated, saying the decision wasn’t easy but would help him and his family heal.

Todd Hoffner was fired last May for reasons undisclosed at the time. But the dismissal came after he was cleared of child-pornography charges stemming from images of his children on a work-issued cellphone, accusations he called the “most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard in my life.”

Hoffner was hired in January as coach at Minot State, and he said he would be “forever grateful” to the North Dakota school. But he said he decided to go back to Mankato for simple reasons.

“My family lives there, we have roots there, I helped grow the program to a national power,” he said.

The university released a statement saying that it welcomed Hoffner back as coach.

Hoffner, 47, was arrested and charged with child pornography in 2012 after university employees found images of his naked children on a work-issued cellphone. But a judge dismissed the charges three months later, saying the videos depicted only innocent images of playful children after a bath.

His supporters said the school overreacted in the wake of the sex-abuse scandal at Penn State, noting his high-profile arrest came just months after retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of child sex abuse.

Minnesota State was 34-13 in four seasons under Hoffner.

• Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said senior Cole Stoudt from Dublin Coffman is the team’s starting quarterback coming out of spring practice, and injured freshman Deshaun Watson will have the chance to compete for the job this fall.

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