Yanni Hufnagel, a Scarsdale, New York native, is quickly becoming the NBA’s most renowned Jewish-American coach. Growing up in Scarsdale, Yanni loved playing basketball. Unfortunately, he was cut from his high school varsity basketball team. Since he couldn’t play on the team anymore, he began commentating the games on a local access TV channel.
He went on to attend Pennsylvania State University. He was only there for a year and played on the school’s lacrosse team. Eventually, he transferred to Cornell University where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. His love of sports still burning passionately inside him, he completed an internship with the New Jersey Nets.
After his internship, Yanni got the opportunity to attend the University of Oklahoma. There, he served as a graduate assistant coach for the school’s men’s basketball team. His assistant coach skills earned him some credit for helping develop Blake Griffin. While at Oklahoma, he continued to further his education. He earned a Master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education.
Now, a 30-year-old man, Yanni is getting some attention because of Jewish background. There aren’t many Jewish-American athletes, but there are lots of Jewish-American team leaders. Yanni’s current job, assistant basketball coach at Harvard, has been earning a lot of special attention. Thanks to Yanni’s skill, the Crimson team has just won its first Ivy League championship. The team also produced Jeremy Lin, a phenomenal basketball player.
The Jewish Coaches Association lists about 30 Division-1 coaches. Not many are widely known, but Yanni Hufnagel and Josh Pastner, a coach at the University of Memphis, are at the top of the list. Their talents have led them to one of the biggest Jewish showdowns ever.