For the first time in their history, Harvard University won the basketball Ivy League. Also, they produced a wunderkind, Jeremy Lin. The one name with which this unprecedented success is associated is Yanni Hufnagel, the team’s assistant coach. His unmatched ability to identify and recruit high-potential youngsters sets him apart from ordinary assistant managers.
Yanni started playing the game while in high school. He began honing his managerial skills at a tender age, having been gaffer in his freshman year at Cornell University. During the summer holidays, he landed an internship at the New Jersey Nets. His breakthrough came after he completed college when a former companion at the Nets connected him to Oklahoma coach, who happened to be seeking for an assistant. Hufnagel’s passion and desire made him the prime candidate for the job, which he eventually landed.
The next stop for Yanni was Harvard after his boss endorsed him for the job. As a volunteer assistant, his remuneration would be much lower than that of interns. However, this did not deter Yanni – his determination saw him through the interview.
The job at Harvard was going to be a tough ask, and Yanni Hufnagel knew it. For a school renowned for its academic excellence rather than sporting achievements, recruitment of new players could be a daunting task. Also, the institution does not offer scholarships to athletes. However, Yanni aims to mitigate this challenge by expanding his recruitment to include high schoolers.
His peers acknowledge Yanni Hufnagel as an assistant manager with an eye for talent. A testament to this is a CBS Sports survey that named him as great assistant managerial prospects due to his exceptional recruitment ability. He was also included in the ‘dream team’ of college assistant coaches by CBS Sports, due to his success at Harvard.
Since leaving Harvard, Yanni has served in the same position at Vanderbilt Commodores and University of California, Berkeley. He is currently an assistant coach at the University of Nevada, Reno.