Yanni Hufnagel’s meteoric rise through the basketball coaching ranks has not gone unnoticed. The one-time outsider has earned his Assistant Coach position with the Nevada Wolfpack the old fashioned way, with hard work.
His love for the game started at a young age when he read every basketball coaching book he could get his hands on. He went from local basketball announcer to manager at Cornell University where he was a student. A summer internship with the then New Jersey Nets gave him the connections he needed to score a Graduate Assistant Coach position at Oklahoma. With the recommendation of Sooners coach Jeff Capel, Hufnagel was hired as a Volunteer Coach at Harvard. His reputation as a tireless recruiter helped him land assistant jobs at Vanderbilt and then Cal. All that experience has culminated in his hiring by Eric Musselman at Nevada.
Wherever Hufnagel has stopped, success has followed. In his most recent stop at Cal he coached two guards who tore up the Pac-12 on their was to being selected in the NBA Draft. Jaylen Brown and Tyrone Wallace were 2016 selections with Brown going third overall. As a team the Bears went 23-11 in his last year on the sidelines and earned a program-best fourth seed in the NCAA Tournament. While at Vanderbilt, he authored a nationally-ranked recruiting class and coached two more future NBA players, Wade Baldwin IV and Damian Jones.
In his days at Harvard, Yanni Hufnagel helped the Crimson to a 90-30 mark and four consecutive trips to the postseason, including three league titles. Most impressive was the deep run Harvard made in the NCAA Tournament in 2013 when it set school record by advancing to the third round. Hufnagel also coached NBA star Jeremy Lin while in Cambridge.
The 30-year-old New York native now takes his coaching talent to Nevada. Success is likely to follow and don’t be surprised to see Hufnagel with a head coaching job in the near future.
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