Surviving in the world of college coaching can be quite challenging. The demands on today’s coaches go far beyond X’s and O’s. Today’s coach is expected to recruit, graduate players and maintain a clean program. Don’t lose too many games or the aforementioned means nothing. Yanni Hufnagel is one of the few coaches that has been able to survive and thrive in this world. Hufnagel has developed a reputation as an excellent recruiter and player developer. He appears destined for the head coaching ranks.
Yanni Hufnagel is a New York native who gained a passion for basketball at a young age. After being cut from his high school team, he moved towards broadcasting and then eventually coaching. His work began as a graduate assistant at Oklahoma University. It was during this time that Hufnagel had the opportunity to help develop current NBA All-Star Blake Griffin. After finishing his education at Oklahoma, Hufnagel was ready to take his abilities to higher levels.
Yanni Hufnagel’s next stop would be at Harvard University. During this time he had the opportunity to work under former Duke Star Tommy Amaker. It was during this time that Hufnagel’s recruiting ability really began to shine. During this time he had a major role in recruiting and developing Jeremy Lin and Wesley Saunders. Both players would go on to play professionally. Harvard itself would make the NCAA tournament several times during Hufnagel’s time there.
After Harvard Yanni Hufnagel would have stops at Vanderbilt, California and his current school Nevada. During these stops he would work with big name coaches like Kevin Stallings and Cuonzo Martin. At California with Martin, Hufnagel helped to secure a recruiting class that included five-star players Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb. Both of these players would go on to play in the NBA.
Currently at Nevada University, Hufnagel has received high praise for his ability to recruit and develop players. With his excellent track record it should only be a matter of time before he leads a program as a head coach.