It is unlikely that those who saw Yanni Hufnagel growing up would have the first thing to enter their heads be basketball. This scrawny Jewish kid from Scarsdale, New York loved the game to be sure, but he just didn’t have the look, or the merit to be a player. Determined to not be relegated to a life of being merely a fan of the game that he found so much joy in, he committed himself to learning everything he could about how the game worked, how to master it, to teach it, to dare even coach it.
He read every book that he could get his hands on, and played with friends and family members every chance he could get a basketball in his hand. He may not have been a “jock” but he didn’t see why that meant that he could not be a leader of those who were. Indeed, his devotion to learning the game that he loved was not wasted time and energy. He soon became one of the most well informed young men in the area about every aspect of basketball, and it paid off.
Over the Couse of his short but successful career so far, he has worked with some of the most lauded programs in the game today. He has served as assistant coach to his Alma Mater, Cornell University, as well as an Assistant Coach for Harvard, Graduate Assistant for Oklahoma, assistant coach to Vanderbilt as well as Cal Tech, and now he is proud to be serving as the new assistant to Nevada where he hopes to bring his impeccable talent for recruitment to bear on behalf of the Wolf Pack.
The guy from Scarsdale who didn’t seem to those around him that he could carry a jockstrap, let alone play the game of basketball, has now proven himself to be one of the most defining forces in coaching of the game ever. At merely 30 years old, he has already had the kind of accolades on his career sheet that others long to have accomplished by their retirement. He is proof in the power of learning and of heart. He is a great example of perseverance being key to achieving greatly what you dare to dream, even when others do not believe that it is possible.
Learn more about Yanni Hufnagel: