Growing up in Scarsdale 30-year-old Yanni Hufnagel probably hoped he had an exciting future but there’s no way he could have seen the success he realized in the sport of basketball. Not playing on the court, but coaching from the bench. Hufnagel was cut from his own high school basketball team but went on to graduate from Cornell. Today he lives in Boston and is his fourth year as the assistant basketball coach at Harvard University. Most Universities in the country have their eye on the successful young assistant coach because of his record and the success he has experienced at bringing some of the best young players to his school.
If he were to write a How I spent My Summer Vacation essay this fall, Hufnagel would have an exciting story to tell as he gets ready to spend the season coaching in Israel in July for two weeks. He will help lead the team of Maccabi USA’s youth team during the Maccabiah Games.
A little over five years ago Hufnagel was already seeing his hard work pay off and enjoy success as CBS voted him one of the most successful recruiters among more than 100 assistant coaches. Hufnagel has said the reason he is so successful in the recruiting arena is that he searches for high-school students who are good enough that they could make it as first-round NBA picks and then gives them the rare opportunity, through basketball, to attend a college that in reality might otherwise be out of their reach.
Word is that it won’t be long before Yanni Hufnagel will have his choice of coaching jobs, whether he chooses to remain an assistant or feels he is ready to move on to the head job.
While at Harvard, Hufnagel’s record has been an impressive 79-24.