Yanni Hufnagel sounds more like an attorney for a high powered New York law firm. In fact, that was probably a straighter path for a nice Jewish boy from Scarsdale who could not make his high school basketball team. However, Hufnagel followed a different path by first doing color commentary for his high school team to finally landing an assistant coaching job with the University of Nevada, Reno Wolf Pack. It has not been an arrow straight course but Hufnagel may just become Coach H – like Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski.
Hufnagel started his coaching career while he was still a kid by reading coaching books. He used that knowledge in his color commentating role where others already noticed his grasp of the game. He got his first basketball job at Cornell as a manager and then in the same role with the New York Nets. He became a graduate assistant at Oklahoma after that and then moved on to be an assistant coach at Harvard.
Yanni Hufnagel has developed a reputation as an excellent college basketball recruiter. According to his peers, he is fearless about pursuing the best recruits. Coach H is a salesperson and had to be to recruit top recruits to Harvard which is definitely not known as a basketball powerhouse. Blue chip recruits like Zena Edosomwan would not have considered Harvard without the salesmanship and chutzpah of Hufnagel. Coach H is also credited with being an invaluable part of 2 future NBA stars’ rise. He worked with both Blake Griffin at Oklahoma and Jeremy Lin while working at Harvard.
After much success at Harvard, Coach Hufnagel moved on to work as an assistant coach at Vanderbilt where he helped to recruit the 29th ranked class. From there, Yanni took his boundless energy to the University of California Golden Bears where he stayed for 2 seasons. In April 2016, Hufnalel accepted an assistant coaching position with Nevada Reno.