Sports and indeed basketball is an odd place to find a highly successful Jewish guy. That is exactly where you catch Yanni Hufnagel, a progressive coach and eyeful talent scout who is making his mark at Harvard University’s men’s basketball team, the Crimsons. Hufnagel’s rapid success at the team enabled them to not only secure the Ivy League for the first time but also identify exciting fresh talent earning him a spot on the trending young coaches’ bench.
It’s a rarity to see an all-out Jewish-American basketball showdown in the history of the NBA. Yanni Hufnagel recently shared the court with University of Memphis coach Josh Pastner, who is also Jewish, in a closely followed face-off. In addition, Hufnagel is winning the popular dream coach vote as the most promising upcoming coach for his upbeat attitude at recognizing blazing talent.
Hufnagel’s interest in basketball started in high school when he tried for Scarsdale’s high school team. Although he didn’t make the final team, he excelled at analyzing the game and could call it better than anyone in his age bracket. Throughout university, his coaching prowess came to life earning him a graduate assistant coach position with the Oklahoma basketball team after his studies. Hufnagel’s energy and enthusiasm for the game led him to Harvard where he worked as a volunteer assistant coach.
His effervescence and infectious energy, in-depth understanding of the game and excellent marketing skills, ensures he connects effortlessly with the young talent he seeks. This has made him a sought-after coaching talent for top tier teams. When the right time comes to upgrade to head coach, he will have no shortage of offers.
In a short decade, Yanni Hufnagel’s track record has earned him great experiences at Oklahoma with the Sooners, Harvard with the Crimsons, Vanderbilt with the Commodores, University of California’s Golden Bears and currently Nevada where the Wolf Pack is more than lucky to have him as the assistant coach.