Today is a very sad day for me and many other sports fans here in Minnesota because we lost a very popular coach in Flip Saunders. He was my favorite NBA coach. I was a big fan of him and have been for a long time. Saunders might not have been the best coach that ever lived; there have been far more successful coaches at many levels. But in terms of being passionate about the game of basketball, Flip has very few equals. That man lived, slept and dreamed basketball. If you look up the word basketball junkie in the dictionary, Flips picture is right there. He defined what a true basketball junkie was all about.
I have heard stories that Saunders used to wake up his son, who is an assistant coach for the Timberwolves, to go over a new play that he just thought of. How amazing is that!! It was basketball 24/7 for that guy. I don’t know if the guy ever slept! Lately, he was dead set on turning the struggling Timberwolves franchise around. He was excited to be coaching this upcoming season because he had some very good, young talent on the roster. A guy like Saunders is perfect for developing young players just starting out in the league. You could just tell from the press conference this summer in which Karl Anthony Towns was introduced that Saunders just chomping at the bit to start the season. This was his new project; rebuild the team which is something he was very passionate about. Now those dreams are a distant memory.
Outside of being a coach, Saunders was a great family man according to many reports. He had a weekly radio show on one of our all sports radio stations and I used to love to listen to the show. He was very articulate on talking about the NBA and the Timberwolves. Not only that, but he was a very knowledgeable sports fan who could talk about other sports as well. I even heard him talk about some of his favorite musicians and some of the concerts that he recently attended. Saunders was the type of guy who you would want to go out to dinner with. He seemed like just a normal everyday fan who just happened to be doing something that he loved, coaching basketball.
Somewhere up in heaven, Flip is probably discussing a new way to run the pick and roll with God. The Timberwolves were extremely fortunate to have him be part of the organization. He had planted the seeds on what could be the start of something very good for this franchise. RIP Flip!! All of us hoops fans here in Minnesota will greatly miss you!