May 23, 2013
Vanderbilt head basketball coach Kevin Stallings has announced the hiring of Yanni Hufnagel (pending a University-mandated background check) to an assistant coaching position on his coaching staff after spending four seasons at Harvard. Hufnagel replaces Brad Frederick, who is expected to join another staff in a few weeks.
"We're excited to have Yanni join our staff here at Vanderbilt," said Stallings. "He is a superb young coach with a tireless work ethic, and is also an outstanding recruiter and evaluator of talent. We look forward to him working with our student-athletes and the entire Commodore basketball family.
"While we are excited for Yanni's arrival, we will surely miss Brad, both personally and professionally," said Stallings. "He joined me as a young man right out of college when I arrived here at Vanderbilt in 1999, and he has grown into a tremendous, well-rounded coach. He has done a tremendous job for me and for the entire program for the last 14 years, and we wish him, his wife Jocelyn, and their two children, Ben and Carson, all of the best in their new endeavors."
Hufnagel served as the recruiting coordinator for the Crimson, was responsible for perimeter player development and was directly involved in opponent scouting. He helped lead the Crimson to four 20-win seasons and has won the Ivy League title in each of the last three years with NCAA Tournament appearances in both 2011-12 and 2012-13.
"I couldn't be more excited to join Coach Stallings and the rest of his outstanding staff here at Vanderbilt," said Hufnagel. "Coach Stallings is not only recognized as one of the best coaches in college basketball, but also as one of the most family-driven. Vanderbilt's brand is a powerful one and I am truly humbled to have the opportunity to represent such an elite institution. I look forward to becoming a part of the Vanderbilt community, getting going on the court with our current players, and hitting the recruiting trail."
In his first season at Harvard, Hufnagel helped the Crimson to a 21-8 overall record, establishing a program record for victories. Harvard went 10-4 in the Ivy League and earned a postseason berth in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament. Jeremy Lin, now a member of The Houston Rockets, was named a unanimous first team All-Ivy selection.
In his second season with the program, Harvard eclipsed its previous win record by going 23-7 in 2010-11. The Crimson went 12-2 in Ivy games, earning a share of the program's first Ancient Eight title. Following the regular season, Harvard participated in the NIT, facing Oklahoma State in the first round. Four Crimson players earned All-Ivy selections, including Ivy League Player of the Year, Keith Wright.
Hufnagel and the Crimson continued its ascent nationally in 2011-12, as Harvard won the Ivy League title for the second straight season, culminating in the team's first NCAA tournament berth since 1946. Harvard went 26-5 overall and 12-2 in conference play, while winning the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in November. The Crimson also garnered its first-ever national ranking in program history, reaching as high as No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll and No. 22 in the AP poll. Three Crimson players earned All-Ivy selections and Brandyn Curry was named to the Academic All-Ivy team for the second consecutive season.
Harvard posted its fourth straight 20-win season in 2012-13, going 20-10 overall. The Crimson claimed its third consecutive Ivy League crown, going 11-3 in conference play. Harvard reached the NCAA tournament for the second straight season and made history by upsetting third-seeded New Mexico in the second round, the program's first-ever postseason victory. Siyani Chambers was honored as the Ivy League Rookie of the Year and joined Wesley Saunders (unanimous selection) on the all-conference first team. In Hufnagel’s four years with the Crimson, Harvard has gone a combined 90-30.
Harvard’s 2011, 2012, and 2013 recruiting classes have garnered national attention from the likes of CBS Sports, ESPN, Rivals, and Scout.com. In each of the last three years Harvard has inked a commitment from a prospect in the Rivals Top 150. CBS Sports ranked Harvard’s 2012 group among the Top 10 non-BCS recruiting classes in the country after ESPN, Rivals, and Scout.com all did so in 2011. CBS Sports recognized Hufnagel as “one of the most relentless and energetic recruiters in the game,” in their 2012-13 College Basketball Preview, while naming him one of their nine “Dream Team” assistant coaches in college basketball.
Hufnagel came to Harvard from the University of Oklahoma where he served as a graduate assistant for the men's basketball team. As a graduate assistant, Hufnagel organized the program's recruiting database, helped conduct individual workouts, and assisted the coaching staff during practice. In his two years at Oklahoma, the Sooners won 53 games, and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in 2008-09 after reaching the second round in 2007-08.
With the Sooners, Hufnagel assisted in the development of Blake Griffin, the first overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. Blake was named the 2010-11 T-Mobile NBA Rookie of the Year and appeared in his third consecutive All-Star game in 2012-13.
A 2006 graduate of Cornell with a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial and Labor Relations, Hufnagel earned his Master's of Education with an emphasis in Intercollegiate Athletic Administration at Oklahoma in 2010. While at Cornell, Hufnagel served as a student manager with the Big Red for current Boston College Head Coach Steve Donahue.
Prior to his time at Oklahoma, Hufnagel spent a summer as a basketball operations intern with the New Jersey Nets, where he assisted the front office in preparation for the NBA draft and with other administrative functions. Hufnagel also served as a special assistant to then head coach Lawrence Frank.
In addition to his work with the Crimson basketball program, Hufnagel was actively involved with Boston-based Partners for Youth with Disabilities, serving as a mentor in their Mentor Match program.