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While many kids dream of being successful doctors, lawyers, or bankers, Yanni Hufnagel was pursuing an entirely different field. The assistant basketball coach at Harvard is poised to become rich quickly due to his exceptional coaching skills that have enabled the Crimson to win their first ever Ivy League in 2016. With just four years at the team’s bench, the Scarsdale-raised assistant coach has transformed the team into one of the best in the country.
The Jewish boy is one of the few professionals in the America’s basketball. In the NBA, the only Jewish-American professional is basketball player Amar’e Stoudemire. However, for Yanni Hufnagel, nothing is close to the basketball player. He is neither tall nor athletic. However, for a college basketball assistant coach, these are not essential attributes. What counts most as a coach is the ability to bring the best out of the players. This aptitude helps in winning games. Yanni Hufnagel is respected for his recruiting skills. In 2011, CBS conducted a survey that saw the assistant coach being voted to the list of 100 coaches with exceptional recruiting ability.
Yanni Hufnagel’s career started at a lower level. During his first year at Cornell, he worked for New Jersey Nets. His duties in the team included picking up the team’s laundry. When he graduated as a basketball manager, Yanni Hufnagel was lucky to secure a graduate assistant position with his old boss, Oklahoma Basketball Coach, Jeff Capel. In his efforts to impress his boss, he dedicated his time and energy towards the team, always getting to work early and leaving after everyone. Capel recommended him to Harvard head coach, Tommy Amaker, in 2009 as a volunteer assistant coach. In this position, his salary was equivalent to that of an unpaid intern. However, dedication to his work enabled him to be promoted to the position of assistant coach, where he is paid well. Yanni Hufnagel is working hard to become a head coach in future and coach an NBA league team.