Timberwolves head coach and U alum Flip Saunders passes away at 60

The 60-year-old had been battling Hodgkin lymphoma since this June.

Mike Hendrickson

Philip “Flip” Saunders, the head coach and president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves and a former University of Minnesota basketball player, died Sunday, according to the Timberwolves. He was 60.
 
Saunders was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in June and stepped down from his roles with the Timberwolves in September to receive treatment.
 
Saunders played for the University of Minnesota men’s basketball team for four seasons until 1977, totaling 842 points, 365 rebounds and 256 assists in his career. He started 101 of his 103 career games.
 
Saunders returned to the University of Minnesota in 1981 and spent five seasons as an assistant men’s basketball coach.
 
The Gophers won a Big Ten championship and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in 1982 during Saunders’ time as an assistant coach.
 
Saunders went on to serve as head coach for the Timberwolves for 10 seasons from 1995 to 2005, moving on to become the head coach of the Detroit Pistons and the
Washington Wizards for three years each before returning to the Timberwolves as president of basketball operations in 2013.
 
Saunders took over as the Timberwolves’ head coach again in 2014. He went 654-592 as an NBA head coach. His 654 victories rank 20th in league history.
 
He is survived by his wife Debbie, his three daughters Mindy, Rachel and Kimberly, and his son Ryan, who is an assistant coach for the Timberwolves.