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Minnesota State-Mankato and Todd Hoffner are Division II's No. 1 ranked team

Todd Hoffner

Normally we wouldn't do a story about a new team moving into the top position of the Division II coaches' poll in the middle of October. Nothing about the situation at Minnesota State-Mankato, however, is normal.

If you're reading this article then you're more than likely aware of the situation. Minnesota State-Mankato head coach Todd Hoffner was removed from his job in August 2012 after being accused of child pornography, and but cleared of wrongdoing that November. Regardless, Hoffner was reassigned within the university following the charges, and fired several months later.

He later accepted the head job at Minot State (N.D.), but in April an arbitrator ruled he was wrongfully terminated and ordered him to be reinstated as the Mavericks' head coach.

Now, half a year later, Minnesota State-Mankato is the No. 1 team in the country.

The Mavericks, 7-0 this season after a 31-0 win over St. Cloud State (Minn.) and winning games by an average score of 47-10, ascended from No. 2 to the the top spot following defending national champion Northwest Missouri State's loss to Pittsburg State (Kan.) on Saturday.

To be clear, Hoffner's homecoming wasn't easy for the involved parties. The Mavericks were 34-13 under Hoffner from 2008-11, and went 24-2 under interim head coach Aaron Keen. On Hoffner's first day back, players boycotted practice in a show of support of Keen. Keen was promoted to associate head coach, but has since joined the Eastern Michigan staff as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.

"We're excited that we're being recognized for the body of work that's been done, even in my absence," Hoffner told USA Today, "and this team is continuing the tradition and the legacy that have been build. You only get ranked No. 1 if your body of work displays excellence. … That gets us to where we are now."