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Report: Flip Saunders turns down his alma mater

Mar 30, 2013, 5:42 PM EDT

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The name Flip Saunders has been bandied about by those watching the Minnesota coaching search. Saunders, who played for the Gophers, was an assistant for his alma mater, and led the Timberwolves for ten years, has been a favorite of boosters.

According to Andy Katz, Minnesota AD Norwood Teague made the offer and was rejected today.

With most of the big names out of the running for the Minnesota job, we may see Teague go after some high-profile assistants. When Teague was at VCU, he mined the assistant ranks for the likes of Anthony Grant and Shaka Smart, to great effect. Having made the expected moves, perhaps now he will feel free to pursue the next big thing instead of the current big thing.

Eric Angevine is the editor of Storming the Floor. He tweets @stfhoops.

  1. juradura - Mar 30, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Flip is a good coach when he has established players. He has never been great at developing talent, like in DC.

  2. vols84 - Mar 30, 2013 at 6:37 PM

    Minnesota, welcome to the real world. Like UCLA, your next coach will be a step down from the predecessor.

  3. melissashusband - Mar 30, 2013 at 7:09 PM

    Actually tubby was a poor conference coach and overrated

    • mogogo1 - Apr 1, 2013 at 2:57 PM

      Everything is relative. He took a team that went 9-22 and won 20 games the very next season. He had four 20-win seasons since 2007 while the program had managed two from 97-2007. He basically made them good enough so the fanbase realized how far they still had to go. I can see why they fired him (lots of poor finishes to seasons, early tournament exits) but now the reality is setting in that not every coach dreams of coaching at Minnesota. If this goes poorly (and it’s off to a rough stop) they’ll end up with worse than what they fired.

  4. northstarnic - Mar 30, 2013 at 7:11 PM

    Vols84, clearly you are among the crowd that still believes the tubby smith mythology. On the other hand, given that Teague virtually guaranteed that he would get his man/make a flashy hire without ever coming right out and saying it, flip’s rejection and Shaka’s recommit to VCU have to be seen as a major flop.

  5. dracko19 - Mar 30, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Recipe for successful coach = Izzo assistant

  6. vols84 - Mar 30, 2013 at 8:01 PM

    All the talk on sports talk radio is that Minnesota doesn’t have good basketball facilities. Is this true?

  7. rgledz - Mar 30, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    Vols84…..”the Barn” is pretty iconic as far as college stadiums go, but they don’t have a high quality practice facility……or really any practice facility. They use Williams arena for practices and that’s not always open to the players. So not horrible, but could be much better. Tubby was working hard to get the U to pay for a new practice facility, but it seems like bit was just lip service. Tubby’s conference record was awful too by the way, sucks that they didn’t get Shaka.

  8. sdb74 - Mar 30, 2013 at 11:38 PM

    Wow, Smart, Stevens, Hoiberg, & now Saunders have all turned down Minnesota. Maybe they should have kept Tubby. And yes, Minnesota has probably the worst facilities in the Big 10. Tubby was promised upgrades & practice facility that never materialized.

  9. woodstakes - Mar 31, 2013 at 12:58 AM

    What I find humorous is the fact that locally on the radio you hear about “How this guy..” or “That guy…” should jump at the chance to come coach for such a “storied program”… What STORIED… What have they ever done?? They went to the final four like once right?? And they cheated and got slammed by the NCAA if I remember correctly.

    What UM is FINALLY seeing what everyone outside of Minnesota thinks, which is that the Head Men’s Basketball coaching job.. IS NOT a good job! No one wants to go there! There is no “story” in the “storied program”… The only good head coaching job at UM is the Head Men’s Hockey job.. and he ain’t goin nowhere anytime soon!

  10. greatminnesotasportsmind - Mar 31, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    What isn’t in this story is that what is being reported is the reason why Flip Saunders turn them down. It isn’t because he doesn’t want the job, it’s the fact Teague wanted to have a say in the assistants that Flip Saunders would hire.

    IMO: Teague has botched this hiring so badly. Don’t think that Buzz Williams will come here either. He’s already said this was seen as a lateral move from Marquette. I don’t blame Teague for going after the homerun hires in Shaka Smart, Fred Hoiberg, or Brad Stevens. However, when you can’t land Flip Saunders, who wanted the job; you have issues. I feel that the offer to Saunders was a slap in the face to the fans, knowing Flip would turn them down knowing he wouldn’t have say in his assistants. That way Teague can go after his defining hire, and still claim he tried to appease the fan base by “attempting” to hire local favorite.

  11. massivedick - Apr 3, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    The process of replacing the head basketball coach starts at replacing the AD.

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