Yanni Hufnagel was born into a Jewish home on August 26, 1982, in the New York town of Scarsdale. From an early age, Hufnagel was interested in sports. He played lacrosse for the Scarsdale High School Raiders and was appointed team captain. In basketball, he was less successful, being cut from the Raiders’ varsity basketball team when he was a junior. However, he still loved basketball and took a job as a color commentator on a local news channel.
After graduating high school, Yanni Hufnagel went to Pennsylvania State University for a year, then transferred to Cornell University, where he continued playing lacrosse. He graduated in 2006 with a degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. That summer, Hufnagel interned with the New Jersey Nets. After summer ended, he enrolled at the University of Oklahoma. During his time there, Hufnagel served as the Sooners men’s basketball graduate assistant coach. Hufnagel worked with several players there who would go on to be very prominent basketball players, including Blake Griffin. In 2010, Hufnagel received his master’s degree in Adult and Higher Learning with an Emphasis in Intercollegiate Administration.
In 2009, before he graduated from the University of Oklahoma , Yanni Hufnagel joined the Harvard Crimson as an assistant coach and recruiter. While at Harvard, Hufnagel worked with Jeremy Lin and Wesley Saunders, and led #14 Harvard to upset #3 New Mexico in the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. After 4 years working with the Crimson, Hufnagel joined the Vanderbilt Commodores as an assistant coach. He went on to recruit Wade Baldwin IV and Matthew Fisher-Davis. Hufnagel left after just one season in Vanderbilt.
In 2014, Yanni Hufnagel joined the California Golden Bears and persuaded Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb to join the basketball team. These two led the Golden Bears to a 2016 Tournament position. Hufnagel did not stay in California long enough to join them, having taken a job coaching the University of Nevada Wolf Pack. Hufnagel did not stay there for very long either, leaving Nevada after the Wolf Pack’s appearance in the 2017 Tournament. For more info you can checkout hudl.com