At one time Yanni Hufnagel was considered to be one of the best assistant college basketball coaches in the nation. He was one of the best recruiters around and brought in players from all over the United States to the programs he coached at. He did this with a high energy and enthusiastic approach, often carrying on conversations with two or three other people all at the same time and doing so effortlessly.
Jon Rothstein is one of CBS’s college basketball analysts. When talking about Yanni Hufnagel, Rothstein stated that he was definitely one of the most relentless people he had ever come across. Rothstein likened him to the Energy Bunny and said he never stopped and was working to help his program out at all hours of the day.
Yanni Hufnagel worked at a number of college basketball programs. These were the University of California, Berkeley, and Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Oklahoma. When he was part of the University of California, Berkeley, team he said that if you are really passionate about what you do for a living then it really doesn’t work. He added that he was always willing to do whatever it took for his program to succeed on the court.
When he was 16 years old he was already part of the world of college basketball. He worked on a public-access television channel covering games. His partner at the time, Bill Raftery, said that Yanni Hufnagel would offer insight into how the teams were playing using phrases like “nickel-dimer” that weren’t part of the lexicon of average high school students.
While attending Cornell University he was a student-manager of that school’s basketball team. He then became a graduate assistant under coach Jeff Capel. He also worked closely with Blake Griffin who became a number one draft pick and star in the NBA. Yanni Hufnagel says that it was this time in his life that turned out to be the major reason he decided to start a career as an assistant basketball coach. He continued in this role until retiring from the sport in his mid-30s in order to pursue other opportunities.