Becoming a college basketball coach is a dream for many people, but is often very hard to achieve. This is particularly true for people that never played the sport beyond high school as many schools look to hire former players. One current basketball assistant coach, Yanni Hufnagel, has proven that this trend is not always the case.
Yanni Hufnagel is currently an assistant coach with the University of Nevada. He was born and raised in New Jersey and never played basketball after middle school. While he was not a very good player, he always had an interest in the sport. While he was completing his education at Cornell University, he was able to get an internship with the New Jersey Nets and his desire to have a career in basketball only grew.
After graduating from Cornell, Yanni Hufnagel was able to get a job as a graduate assistant at the University of Oklahoma. In this role he was able to interact with players, learn more about the sport, and get educated on coaching and recruiting techniques. The following year he started as an assistant coach at Harvard University. While at Harvard he was able to build the reputation as being one of the top recruiters in the country. Hufnagel was able to land several top-100 recruits despite the fact that Harvard was not able to provide athletic scholarships.
Due to his skill in recruiting, Yanni Hufnagel has been highly sought after by a number of bigger programs. He has shown his ability to continue to recruit anywhere while working for Nevada. In just a few years at that school, Hufnagel has seen the program turn from a small-time college program to a perennial top-25 team. This year, the Wolfpack have already won their conference title and are looking to advance far into the NCAA tournament.