Yanni Hufnagel’s Success Story as the Assistant Basketball Coach at Harvard University

As the assistant coach of Harvard Basketball team, Yanni Hufnagel has several accomplishments in his coaching career. Hufnagel is 30-year-old Jewish who spent most of his life in Scarsdale. He also attended Cornell University and currently resides in Boston. Yanni Hufnagel has been celebrated as one of the young coaches in the U.S. who have led basketball teams such as Harvard through several wins.


In the Jewish-American coaching history, Yanni Hufnagel and Josh Pastner, the University of Memphis coach, are the most promising coaches. According to a 2011 survey conducted by CBS on 100 coaches, Hufnagel was also voted as a coach who can lead a basketball team effectively. The study also concluded that Yanni is a great recruiter.


Hufnagel’s Coaching Journey


Hufnagel’s passion for basketball coaching began when he was a kid. He used to read coaching books and watch NBA teams play. He once played for a lacrosse team at Penn State for one season before quitting. Yanni Hufnagel also listened to the views of basketball commentators on how teams played. Ed Cohen praised Hufnagel’s skills based on analyzing basketball. Ed also predicted that Hufnagel would become a coach one day.


As a freshman at Cornell University, Hufnagel served as the basketball manager of the institution’s basketball team. Hufnagel also served as an intern for the New Hersey Nets during the summer and fall of his first year. Hufnagel met Jeff Capel, Oklahoma basketball coach, through his friend Ryan Krueger after graduating from Cornell. Capel was in pursuit of a graduate assistant. He interviewed Hufnagel and offered him the position. During his tenure, he used to open the gym for Blake Griffin to train in the morning and late in the night. Capel linked Hufnagel to Tommy Amaker, Harvard’s head coach. Hufnagel served as a volunteer assistant coach before being appointed as the assistant coach.

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