Monday, August 20, 2012

MSU football: As normal as possible

The Minnesota State football team wrapped up practice Monday night with interim coach Aaron Keen, and afterward, Keen and a couple players talked about life without a head coach.

MSU football coach Todd Hoffner was removed from practice Friday afternoon and taken from campus. The university has not divulged any details, other than say that Hoffner is on administrative leave.

AD Kevin Buisman appointed Keen, the associated head coach and offensive coordinator, as the interim coach, mainly because of previous head-coaching experience.

Keen will take over Hoffner's responsibilities as receivers coach, and Ron Planz will absorb Hoffner's special-teams responsibilities.

Keen said that the players have remained focused on football, despite some trying times.

WR Adam Thielen and DE Chris Schaudt both said that they were completely blindsided by the Hoffner incident, and both said that Hoffner had not tried to contact them or any of the players.

They both said that the coaches have done a great job of keeping them focused on the season-opener Aug. 30 at Minot State, and that the season's goals haven't changed.

It's certainly been a strange three days since this situation occurred. Hoffner remains at his home in Eagle Lake, and he was seen at a local business Monday afternoon.

There's plenty of speculation and rumors floating around, but there is no news as of now.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

MSU women's BB coach search gets interesting

Over the last two days, the search for the next women's basketball coach at Minnesota State has come down to two candidates: South Dakota State assistant Emilee Thiesse and Southwest Minnesota State head coach Allison Kruger.

Having spoken with both, there seems to be one difference. Thiesse is looking for her first head-coaching job, while Kruger has already had a couple seasons on the hot seat.

Thiesse's resume is good, having worked at South Dakota State and Drake as both programs have competed in the NCAA tournament. She's been the recruiting coordinator for the Jackrabbits, with a concentration on Minnesota.

She seems somewhat soft-spoken, probably doesn't have an intimidating presence on the bench. She's been on winning teams and probably has high expectations for her athletes.

Kruger's resume isn't as impressive, with some experience as an assistant at South Dakota. She's been the head coach at Southwest and won only 13 games in two seasons.

Certainly, there are greater challenges to winning at Southwest than there are at Minnesota State, but she comes across as a more experienced, confident coach, eager to accept a challenge. She also is very familiar with the current roster and the Northern Sun.

It seems that neither candidate would run the program into the ground, yet this decision comes down to which personality the search committee is looking for. The resume seems to favor Thiesse, while the head-coach experience and presence should favor Kruger.

The decision could be made before the weekend, and an announcement could come early next week.