Flip Saunders passes away

Sean Callaghan, Sports Reporter

Flip Saunders, the longtime NBA coach who won more than 650 games in nearly two decades, died Sunday. The beloved coach, team president, and part owner had been trying to rebuild the Minnesota Timberwolves’ dynasty, and had success in this grueling objective, having worked on building this team for years.

Flip took part in managing and coaching teams in major, minor, and college leagues for thirty-five years, seventeen of them in the NBA. Saunders was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in June. The Timberwolves made the diagnosis public in August, but doctors called it “treatable and curable.” However, he  was forced to take a leave of absence from the team in September, after complications arose during his treatment that included chemotherapy.

Saunders went 654-592 in 17 NBA seasons with the Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards. Philip Daniel Saunders was born in 1995 in Cleveland. His mother Kay nicknamed him Flip after hearing the name at a beauty salon. Flip was a basketball star at his High School Cuyahoga Heights, but also played in college.  He played at Minnesota, playing with other stars such as Kevin McHale and Mychal Thompson . In his senior year, he co-lead the Golden Gophers to a 24-3 record.

Earlier this week, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor announced that Saunders would not be back this season and asked that others would give him time to heal. The team’s season starts Wednesday.

“The NBA family is mourning today over the tragic loss of our friend and colleague, Flip Saunders,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. Flip’s passing is truly a tragic occurrence, but it will be quite the interesting season seeing the Wolves playing for their former coach.

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