Flip Saunders, veteran NBA coach, dies at 60

Phil “Flip” Saunders, head coach of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves, has died, the team announced Sunday.

Saunders, who also served as the team’s president of basketball operations and part owner, was 60.

The veteran coach was being treated for Hodgkin lymphoma. Last month, the team announced that Saunders would sit out the upcoming basketball season.

Saunders is credited with leading the Timberwolves to some of the team’s most successful seasons during his tenure as coach from 1995 to 2005. He returned to the Timberwolves in 2013 to the front office, and the following year became head coach once again.

In August, Saunders said he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and was undergoing chemotherapy.

The team said that doctors described it as a “very treatable and curable form of cancer.”

At the time, Saunders decided to continue his duties uninterrupted.

But in September, he experienced complications from the chemotherapy treatment and took a leave of absence.

The team canceled practice Sunday after the news was announced.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Saunders was an All-America basketball player at Cuyahoga Heights High School in Cleveland. As a player at the University of Minnesota, he was a starter in 101 of his 103 games there.

He began his coaching career at Golden Valley Lutheran College in St. Paul. His record there over four seasons was 92-13, including a 56-0 record at home, according to the Timberwolves’ website.

Saunders’ NBA coaching included stints with the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards as well as the Timberwolves.

Billy Graham Fast Facts
Veteran NBA coach Flip Saunders dies at 60

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