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Basketball Assistant Hufnagel Leaves for Vanderbilt

By Martin Kessler, Crimson Staff Writer

Harvard men’s basketball assistant coach Yanni Hufnagel is leaving the Crimson for an assistant coaching position at Vanderbilt.

According to The Tennessean's Jeff Lockridge, Hufnagel accepted the Vanderbilt position over an opportunity at Memphis.

As an assistant to Harvard head coach Tommy Amaker over the past four seasons, Hufnagel served as the point man for the Crimson’s recruiting efforts. Since his arrival in Cambridge, Harvard has consistently boasted recruiting classes among the Ancient Eight’s best.

"While we are certainly sad to lose Yanni here at Harvard, we are thrilled for him and this tremendous opportunity with Coach Stallings at Vanderbilt," Amaker wrote in a statement. "We are incredibly grateful for Yanni's contribution to the success we've been able to achieve during his tenure here, and we know that Yanni's  enthusiasm and energy will be incredible assets for Vanderbilt Basketball, as they have been here for us."

Last March, Hufnagel helped Harvard secure the commitment of Zena Edosomwan ’17—the Ivy League’s first ever commitment from a Scout.com Top-100 recruit.

Hufnagel’s success has garnered national attention. Last October, CBSSports.com’s Matt Norlander picked Hufnagel as one of three assistant coaches for his 2012-13 college basketball dream team.

Since Hufnagel’s arrival in Cambridge, the Crimson has won three Ivy League titles and earned its first NCAA tournament victory.

Vanderbilt is coming off a 16-17 season in which it finished in the bottom half of the SEC.

Under head coach Kevin Stallings, the Commodores have reached the NCAA tournament six times since 2004. Vanderbilt’s most recent tournament victory came in 2012 when the fifth-seeded Commodores topped Harvard, 79-70.

The squads have also gone head-to-head on the recruiting trail in past years.

In 2009, forward Rod Odom ultimately settled on Vanderbilt after being heavily recruited by the Crimson. And in 2010, center Kenyatta Smith ’15 picked Harvard over an offer from Vanderbilt.

Hufnagel joined the Crimson coaching staff back in 2009 after spending two seasons as a graduate assistant at the University of Oklahoma.

Hufnagel marks the second assistant coach to leave the Harvard men’s basketball program this offseason. Brian Adams, who joined the Crimson prior to the 2011-12 season, recently accepted an assistant coaching position at Marist.

—Staff writer Martin Kessler can be reached at martin.kessler@college.harvard.edu. Follow him on Twitter @MartinKessler91.

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