Yani Hufnagel is trying to become one of the few Jewish head college basketball coaches in Division 1 basketball. While his other Jewish friends were trying to become doctors and lawyers he was trying to become a professional basketball player. Although he failed in this endeavor he did become a graduate assistant for the University of Oklahoma under Jeff Capel who was a former Duke basketball superstar. Yani Hufnagel was instrumental in coaching probably the greatest player in Sooner history, Blake Griffin. Blake Griffin became a top draft pick and this started Yani’s ascension through the ranks of college basketball. In 2009 he left to become assistant head coach at Harvard to veteran coach Tommy Amaker. Yani Huffnagel was responsible for recruiting and actually was able to recruit two top 100 players to an Ivy League school which was unheard of. Under his tutelage Harvard won almost 80 percent of it’s games over the 4 years he served there.
After stops at Vanderbilt and California he became assistant head coach for the University of Nevada Wolfpack. At 31 years old Yani Huffnagel is one of the hottest young coaching candidates in the country. His age and his religious orientation are what make him different. But being Jewish makes him easy for recruits to bond with because if he can make it to the big time then why can’t they do the same. Forget about being a doctor or lawyer this Jewish dreamer from Scarsdale is about to take a college program to the promised land!!!
There are far too few Americans that really strive to reach their dreams. Most of us get up in the morning, go to work, come home only to do it all over again the next day. Yanni Hufnagel, however, is one who has fallen down and continued to get back up to try and reach his dreams.
Yanni Hufnagel is one of the best college basketball recruiters in the country and currently the assistant coach for the Nevada Wolf Pack men’s basketball team. He has been an assistant coach for several men’s college teams, including the Harvard men’s team.
Being of Jewish descent, Yanni Hufnagel has made a name for himself, including a few basketball coaching rivals he has been involved with against other Jewish coaches. Before his name received higher recognition, he had a few bumps in the road.
While attending high school in Scarsdale, New York, he was cut from the varsity basketball team. He didn’t let that slow him down. He became a color analyst for the local broadcast of the school and made a name for himself. After a brief stint at Penn State, Yanni graduated from Cornell.
After Cornell, he was able to get an internship with the New Jersey Nets, his first foray into the NBA. This helped him land his first coaching position as a graduate assistant at the University of Oklahoma where he was part of the coaching team that developed NBA sensation Blake Griffin.
Yanni Hufnagel was then hired as an assistant coach at Harvard. This was no small task as he not only had to develop his own coaching style, but had to recruit top level ivy league ball players, and still maintain a competitive edge for the Crimson men’s team. Yanni has always overcome any challenge to prove that his dreams are not out of reach.