Yanni Hufnagel is a 30-year-old successful Jewish man. He’s an assistant basketball coach at Harvard, where the team’s record is 79-24 in his four years and won the Ivy League, for the first time, last year.
According to the Jewish Coaches Association, about 30 Division I coaches are in its ranks. Hufnagel is one of the most promising.
Hufnagel couldn’t make the high school team, so he called games for public-access television.
Hufnagel’s path to coaching began as a basketball manager at Cornell for one season and continued with an internship with the New Jersey Nets, where his job included laundry pickup. After graduation, Hufnagel’s Nets colleague Ryan Kreuger connected Hufnagel with Jeff Capel, Oklahoma basketball coach, who hired Hufnagel as a graduate assistant.
Yanni Hufnagel moved to Harvard in 2009 on Capel’s recommendation. He started as a volunteer assistant coach, working without pay. Assistant coaches are recruiters. They must be able to schmooze with coaches, know text-messaging, and like spending summer days in gyms.
According to Capel, Hufnagel has two qualities that make him one of the best recruiters: chutzpah, and salesmanship. He doesn’t fear “no,” so he doesn’t refuse to recruit players on the assumption that they won’t be interested. And he is likable, so he can sell Harvard, which does not offer athletic scholarships and has rigorous admissions requirements. Hufnagel’s goal is to recruit high school players who generally would not consider Harvard as a path to the NBA.
According to Wikipedia, Hufnagel will be a head coach, for the first time, in Israel. In the Maccabiah games, he will coach Maccabi USA’s youth team.
Hufnagel soon will have his choice of a head or an assistant coaching position of a basketball powerhouse.
More information for Yanni Hufnagel available here: http://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/former-cal-assistant-yann-hufnagel-is-joining-nevadas-coaching-staff/