MORAGA, Calif. -- Yann Hufnagel returned to the bench Friday night as a Nevada assistant for his first formal game since being fired by California late last season amid allegations of sexual harassment.
In a short interview with The Associated Press during the Wolf Pack's warm-ups for the season opener against Saint Mary's, Hufnagel expressed his appreciation for being back in the game and said he still roots for the Cal program. He was hired by second-year Nevada coach Eric Musselman, the former coach of the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.
The dismissal of Hufnagel in Berkeley made for a major distraction just before coach Cuonzo Martin's No. 4-seeded Golden Bears -- the program's highest seed in school history -- opened the NCAA tournament against No. 13 Hawaii, which pulled off a 77-66 first-round South Regional upset in Spokane, Washington.
"I'm incredibly grateful to Eric for the opportunity and really excited to be a part of the Wolf Pack family," Hufnagel told the AP before Nevada's 81-63 loss. "I will always be a fan of Cal, especially the players that are still there and Cuonzo. So that's it."
Hufnagel didn't want to comment directly on the details surrounding his firing. Two days before the NCAA tournament game in March, the university announced it was reviewing whether Martin properly handled sexual harassment allegations made by a female reporter against Hufnagel. He was fired March 15 after nearly two seasons as a Cal assistant. Hufnagel was the fourth campus employee in a year to face sexual harassment allegations that were substantiated during campus investigations.
An administrative review showed that all department employees -- including Martin -- responded properly. Martin received a contract extension last month, taking him through the 2020-21 season.