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Posted by Tommy LeDeux on

Yanni Hufnagel; Dream Assistant Coach and Recruiter

Yanni Hufnagel’s career started in Scarsdale, New York, where he was cut from the Scarsdale High School basketball team, before taking on the job of color commentator for the high school team’s games on local access television. He went for a year at Pennsylvania State University, joined the lacrosse team, then transferring to Cornell University where he received his bachelor’s degree. Before attending the University of Oklahoma, he finished an internship with the New Jersey Nets, was a graduate assistant coach for the men’s basketball team, and publicly acknowledged as having in helped mold Blake Griffin.


After getting his master’s degree in Oklahoma, Yanni Hufnagel joined the Harvard Crimson men’s basketball program as an assistant coach and recruiter under Tommy Amaker in June, 2009. In a CBS Sports survey conducted, his peer honored him by praising his recruiting abilities, and was named to the CBS Sports basketball ‘dream team’ of assistant coaches prior to the season of 2012-2013. He is credited as in having helped develop Jeremy Lin and Wesley Saunders. Yanni Hufnagel left and in May 2013, he joined the Vanderbilt Commodores staff under Kevin Stallings as an assistant coach. While there, ESPN credited him with helping Vanderbilt become the 29-ranked 2014 recruiting class, including Wade Baldwin IV and Matthew Fisher-Davis. Hufnagel left after one season and then joined the coaching staff of the California Golden Bears as assistant coach, under Cuonzo Martin. He is acknowledged in having a hand in persuading Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb to join, and Brown and Rabb helped in leading the team to a 2016 NCAA Tournament berth.

Yanni Hufnagel is currently serving as assistant coach to the Nevada Wolf Pack, having joined for the 2016-2017 season under second year head coach, Eric Musselman, where Yanni continues to make his presence seen and felt.


Posted by Tommy LeDeux on

Yanni Hufnagel: College Coach Most Likely To Make It Big

Yanni Hufnagel has paid his dues. He has taken a variety of unpaid jobs in order to forge a path to his dream job — head basketball coach at a Division I college.


Yanni Hufnagel grew up in a quiet Jewish community in Scarsdale, New York. It’s the kind of place where kids are expected to go to good colleges and get good jobs. Yanni Hufnagel certainly went to a good college at Cornell University, but he hasn’t made so much money chasing his dream just yet.


It all began in college when he was an unpaid intern for the New Jersey Nets. He washed soiled players jerseys before becoming a graduate assistant at Oklahoma. He learned how to recruit while at Oklahoma. At the same time, he was sacrificing his own time in order to make Sooner players better. One of these players is NBA star Blake Griffin who has the utmost respect for the young Jewish coach.


He then took an unpaid assistant coaching job at Harvard in 2009. Harvard does not dish out athletic scholarships nor does it lowered its academic standards for basketball players. Despite these shortcomings, Yanni Hufnagel put together a killer squad that won the schools first Ivy League championship. The 79-24 record during his four-year tenure speaks for itself, but 2011 really stands out. Harvard won a school record 26 games, became nationally ranked for the first time in history and Yanni Hufnagel was awarded assistant coach most likely to succeed by a CBS Sports poll.


He took an assistant coaching job at Vanderbilt before serving two years at UC Berkeley. He was able to recruit NBA draft picks at both schools, assembling stellar backcourt. He is now the assistant coach at the University of Nevada, Reno, and he is waiting for his big break.