On the eve of the first NCAA Tournament Harvard won’t be participating in since 2011, the Crimson made their way into the news for the wrong reasons. Tuesday afternoon, former Harvard assistant Yann Hufnagel was fired from his post in the same role at The University of California (Berkeley). In a statement, the school said that Hufnagel’s firing directly follows a ruling that he violated the university’s sexual harassment policy.
Hufnagel is fighting the ruling, denying the incident in an interview with ESPN.
“I’m crushed,” he told ESPN. “I can’t believe it. I’m blindsided. I never imagined this would be the outcome. Cal has been incredibly slow-moving in the process. I’m in the process of hiring a legal team to exonerate my name.”
Earlier that day, he Tweeted: “Right now, the only focus should be on our basketball team! My time to exonerate myself of a fruitless claim by a reporter will come.”
Hufnagel’s Tweet likely refers to allegations from a female journalist covering the team that were detailed in an ESPN report released Tuesday night. The journalist in question told Cal that after a game, she had given Hufnagel a ride home since he was too drunk to drive and that he had repeatedly solicited her for six with “increasingly explicit overtures.”
In one reproduced interaction, the journalist asks Hufnagel “Are you thinking I’m going to have sex with you?”, to which the coach responds: “Yes”.
Hufnagel’s account of the night disputes many details, noting that he did not drink and he was the drive. “With all candor, I was trying to trick her into going upstairs,” Hufnagel told the investigators.
The coach joined the California staff in 2014, two years after leaving Harvard, where he helped recruit, among others—Keith Wright ’12 and Brandyn Curry ’13-’14
–Staff writer David Freed can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.