I truly believe that passion is what drives successful people. It seems that most people take jobs in order to make money to survive. While that makes sense, most people are not passionate about their jobs. Yanni Hufnagel is the personification of passion. The 33-year-old college basketball coach is tenacious in his quest for coaching stardom.
Yanni Hufnagel loves basketball so much that he made it his life’s work despite the fact that he cannot play the game. “I can make a shot, like most Jewish guys,” the young coach jokes about his own abilities, “But I just couldn’t play at a high level.” Yanni Hufnagel was cut from his high school varsity basketball team.
Wanting to stay close to the game, he became the teams television announcer. It is here where he began to display his superior knowledge of the game’s strategies.
Yanni Hufnagel was quite a lacrosse player growing up. He was even able to play a season of lacrosse in college before he quit and transferred schools to Cornell. During his college days, he took an internship with the New Jersey Nets. He had to do the teams laundry.
His passion for the game quickly garnered him attention from some of the biggest head coaches in the country. Soon enough, in 2009, he became the assistant coach at Harvard University. Under his leadership, the Crimson Tide won its first Ivy League championship. The team’s success during his four-year tenure can be attributed to Yanni Hufnagel’s ability to recruit.
Yanni Hufnagel assembled one of the best teams in college basketball despite the fact that Harvard has a policy of not giving out athletic scholarships. The players he recruited also had to meet the school’s high academic standards. He was still able to land a few top-100 recruits and the rest is history.