Philip Daniel “Flip” Saunders was born on February 23, 1955, and passed away on October 25, 2015 from Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
He was an American basketball player and coach. During his career he coached the Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards.
Flip was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He was an All-state basketball player at Cuyahoga Heights High School in suburban Cleveland.
In his senior season, 1973, Flip was named Ohio’s Class A High School Basketball Player of the Year, leading the state in scoring average with 32.0 points per game.
At the University of Minnesota, he started 101 of his 103 career contests and as a senior, teamed with Ray Williams, Mychal Thompson, Kevin McHale, and Osborne Lockhart.
Together they led the Gophers to a school-best, 24–3 record.
Flip and his wife Debbie had four children. Their son, Ryan, was a 6-foot-1 guard for the University of Minnesota, Flip’s alma mater and later became an NBA assistant coach.
According to Flip, he was about 20 yards (18 m) away from the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse on August 1, 2007.
On August 11, 2015, it was announced that Saunders was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
He declared in August that he was being treated for this disease.
Doctors considered it “very treatable and curable” and Saunders at the time said he planned to remain the Timberwolves’ head coach and president of basketball operations.
However, after being hospitalized following a setback in September, it was announced that he would miss the entire 2015–16 NBA season.
Flip died on October 25, 2015, at age 60.