Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Readers remember Flip Saunders
Reader reaction to the death of Timberwolves coach and President Flip Saunders has been overwhelming. Here is a sampling of some of the best comments left on startribune.com:
formercoach: I first met Flip at the CBA draft in 1988. We hit it off immediately. When our teams played each other in the CBA the game notes always included the fact that I was from Neenah, Wis. The PA announcer indicated that as well, which I knew was Flip’s doing. When I got fired, I made 21 phone calls to pro basketball coaches asking for help and telling them I was fired. Only one returned my call. It was Flip.
Several years later after many seasons in Europe, I was at the summer league in Salt Lake City in 1997. There was a row of coaches in front of me, who mainly ignored me, except for one coach who turned around, gave me a hug, wished me well, and told me to stay in touch. It was Flip.
Two years ago, I was hired for an assistant coaching position, pending a physical. During the exam, they found an irregular heartbeat and heart murmur. My contract had to be rescinded. There was one message upon my return to Florida where I live. It was from Flip!
There was only one person of all the NBA coaches who wasn’t egotistical, condescending and self-serving, and who exhibited the true Midwest values that I too had grown up with. It was Flip!
homerunking: I had seen Flip in public from time to time and while I never approached him, he seemed very approachable, unlike most “famous” people. Then a couple of years ago, when his girls were on the Gopher dance team, Flip would show up at the Gopher football “victory walk” before the game, dressed in Gopher gear and chatting with anyone that said hi. He blended right in, just like any other “Minnesotan.” It is a tremendous loss.
mlebens14: I had the good fortune to attend Golden Valley the first two years that Flip coached. What an experience — a respected coach and a class act! Our sympathies to the Saunders family.
rdubbs2121: I had the pleasure of meeting Flip several times as a youth basketball player growing up in Minnesota, and I’ll always remember his unmistakable warmth and presence. He gave his attention and respect to everyone that wished to shake his hand, which is a rarity for someone of his stature. He truly is Minnesota’s Mr. Basketball, and he will be sorely missed.
sgtsmash: Flip reminded me of Herb Brooks, another beloved Minnesota sports legend. Flip’s affable nature just seemed to come through in his words, actions and deeds. Like everyone else, I prayed and hoped he’d pull through, but by all accounts, he was loved by so many and lived a good life helping others. RIP Flip.