Flip Saunders, Minnesota Timberwolves Coach, Dies at 60

Kimberly RipleyLife

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Flip Saunders, longtime NBA coach and present coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves, died on Sunday at the age of 60. He was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma in June, but his illness was deemed "treatable and curable."

The Timberwolves went public with Flip Saunders' diagnosis in August. The beloved coach took a leave of absence in September when complications arose.

According to a report from CBS, Flip Saunders went 654-592 in 17 NBA seasons with the Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards.

Timberwolves GM Milt Newton named Sam Mitchell as interim coach following Saunders' passing.

Team owner Glen Taylor issued a statement in the wake of Flip Saunders' death.

"Flip was a symbol of strength, compassion, and dignity for our organization," he said. "He was a shining example of what a true leader should be, defined by his integrity and kindness to all he encountered."

Philip Daniel "Flip" Saunders was born in Cleveland in 1955, and was a prep basketball star at Cuyahoga Heights High School. His mother Kay reportedly named him Flip after hearing the name at a beauty salon.

He played in college at Minnesota, teaming with Kevin McHale and Mychal Thompson as a senior to lead the Golden Gophers to a 24-3 record.

It wasn't long after college that Flip Saunders made the switch from playing basketball to coaching the game, eventually becoming one of the greatest coaches in NBA history.

The Minnesota Timberwolves, along with countless teams and players, are mourning the passing of this basketball legend. Flip Saunders took pieces of many athletes' hearts with him when he died on Sunday.

Kimberly Ripley
Kimberly Ripley is a freelance writer and published author from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A wife, mom of five and 'Nana' to Lilly and Aiden, she loves cooking for her big family and watching HGTV in her spare time. Kim is guilty of starting way more home design projects than she can finish. Visit her at Twitter and Facebook.