Flip Saunders a leading candidate for Minnesota basketball head coaching job, according to report

Rob Carr

Saunders has spent time as a head coach in Minnesota. Could he be planning a return next season?

Flip Saunders has emerged as the leading candidate to land the Minnesota Gophers head coaching job, according to reports.

WCCO Radio in Minneapolis tweeted the news on Friday afternoon that Saunders had emerged as the top target in the coaching search. Other sources have released similar reports, although nothing has been confirmed by Saunders or the University of Minnesota.

Saunders played for the Gophers in college, and he also spent five years as an assistant coach with the program from 1981 to 1986. He then spent two years as an assistant at Tulsa before heading to the NBA.

Saunders, 58, is currently working as an analyst for ESPN. He has basketball ties all across the Midwest, including a 10-year head coaching stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves from 1995 to 2005. Saunders was most recently employed as a head coach by the Washington Wizards before being fired in early 2012.

It seems that Saunders would be a strong hire for the Gophers. He is a well-known figure with a proven track record, and as SB Nation's Minnesota blog, The Daily Gopher, details, he would be a popular hire with the fan base.

More in College Basketball:

Chasing Cinderella: Dunk City, USA

Bill Connelly: Here's how FGCU beats Florida

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