Imagine growing up loving basketball. You are in the suburban heaven of Scarsdale, New York. In the winter times, you spend your time away from the gym playing with basketball figurines as a child. You grow up loving the game so much that you study its strategies in your teenage years. Then you go out for your high school varsity basketball team only to be cut.
What would you do? Would you give up and walk away from the game that you love? Or would you figure out a way to stay close to the game for the rest of your life? Yanni Hufnagel chose to take a third option — makes a game of basketball his life despite not being able to play it.
Yanni Hufnagel graduated from Cornell University. His friends and family back home in Scarsdale, New York, expected him to move to the big city in order to become a doctor, lawyer or banker. Instead, he chose to take an unpaid assistant coaching job at Oklahoma.
Jeff Capel, head coach at Oklahoma, loved Yanni Hufnagel’s energy and tenacity as a recruiter. He said that he was not afraid to hear the words know, that everybody liked him and he made a great pitch for the school. Yanni Hufnagel then went on to Harvard University where he recruited a ridiculously good class. His team went 79-24 in the four years that he served as assistant coach. The school also won its first Ivy League championship.
The young Jewish coach has served as assistant to Vanderbilt and the University of California at Berkeley. He was able to recruit a top-five class for UC Berkeley before moving on to the assistant coaching position at the University of Nevada at Reno, where he currently coaches. I believe he’ll be a star when he gets his own program.
Learn more about Learn more about Yanni Hufnagel