Timberwolves Announce Flip Saunders Has Passed Away
Timberwolves head coach and president of basketball operations Phillip "Flip" Saunders has reportedly passed away at the age of 60. Saunders was battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The team released a press announcement Sunday afternoon announcing that they had learned of his passing.
Saunders, who announced he was diagnosed with cancer in August, had stepped away from team activities while seeking treatment.
While Saunders originally hails from Ohio, he had deep ties with Minnesota. He attended the University of Minnesota, and he started his coaching career with Golden Valley Lutheran Community College in St. Paul in 1977. He also served some time as an assistant coach for the University of Minnesota as an assistant coach for the Gophers.
Flip took the reigns of the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1995, serving as the head coach for a decade and leading the team to multiple playoff appearances; including a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2004. This was the only appearance the team has made that deep into the playoffs.
He left Minnesota to coach the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards, but made a return to Minnesota to take on a role as president of basketball operations and also ended up taking over coaching duties after the departure of Rick Adelman.
Over Flip's 17-year NBA coaching career, he amassed a 654-592 coaching record.