clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Flip Saunders passes away at age 60, Timberwolves announce

The Minnesota coach passed away after a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

USA TODAY Sports Images

Phil "Flip" Saunders, the Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations and head coach, passed away at the age of 60 on Sunday, the Timberwolves announced.

A minority owner of the Timberwolves, Saunders was diagnosed  with Hodgkin's lymphoma in June and had been hospitalized since late September. He was not going to coach the Timberwolves this season.

After a brief hiatus from coaching after a coaching stint with the Washington Wizards from 2009 to 2012, Saunders coached the Timberwolves during the 2014-15 season. He had coached the Timberwolves from 1995 to 2005 and the Detroit Pistons from 2005 to 2008.

Saunders won 654 games in his career. He led Minnesota to the conference finals in 2004 and led the Pistons to three consecutive conference finals from 2006 to 2008.

When defensive rules changed in the early 2000s, Saunders was one of the first coaches to play an extensive zone. He turned the Timberwolves into a great team with Kevin Garnett in those years, and appeared to be leading a resurgence in Minnesota, with Garnett returning, too.

Garnett honored Saunders by posting this picture to Facebook:

The Timberwolves released the following statement on Saunders:

The Minnesota basketball community will miss Saunders.