Yanni Hufnagel: A Remarkable Career in Basketball Coaching and Recruiting
Yanni Hufnagel was destined from a very early age for a career in basketball coaching. As a kid growing up in a Jewish home in Scarsdale, New York, he was a voracious reader of a variety of books on coaching, actually arranging basketball figurines to replicate the plays he learned about in the books. He also did play-by-play for local teams on the town’s public television station.
During his initial year at Cornell University, Yanni Hufnagel served as the basketball team’s manager. Then that summer he snagged a summer internship with the NBA’s New Jersey Nets. After college graduation, one of his contacts with the Nets hooked him up with his former boss, Jeff Capel, the Head Coach at Oklahoma University, who was in search of a graduate assistant coach. Hufnagel traveled to Norman, interviewed with Capel and soon earned his first coaching job with OU.
In 2009, Yanni Hufnagel became a volunteer assistant coach at Harvard, where he began to cultivate his reputation as a relentless road warrior recruiter. Since then, Hufnagel has been a valued member of coaching staffs at some of the country’s top schools, including Cornell, Vanderbilt, California-Berkley and, most recently, with Nevada. While an assistant coach at Vandy, Hufnagel was recognized by ESPN with helping the Commodores attract the 29th-ranked 2014 recruiting class nationally.
Yanni Hufnagel’s coaching contributed to California recording an impressive 23-11 record during the 2015-16 campaign, which culminated with a No. 4 seeding in the NCAA Tournament, the highest ever in Golden Bear program history. He resigned from Cal following that season after the university revealed that a female reporter had accused him of sexually harassing her, an allegation that Hufnagel has publicly denied.
Yanni Hufnagel now works as Managing Partner with Innovation Road in the Greater Los Angeles Area.
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