Minneapolis, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Timberwolves officially named Flip Saunders as the franchise's new head coach on Friday.
Saunders served as the Timberwolves' bench boss for parts of 10 seasons from 1995-2005 and oversaw the most successful era of the franchise's history, highlighted by trip to the Western Conference finals following a franchise- best 58-24 regular-season record in 2003-04.
"After an exhaustive process and several thorough discussions with Flip, we came to the conclusion that he was the stabilizing force needed to lead our team," Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said in a statement. "Flip led us to our most successful seasons; he knows what it takes to win in the NBA as his track record speaks for itself."
After struggling to a 25-26 record to start the 2004-05 season, the Timberwolves decided to dismiss Saunders, who returned to the organization in May 2013 as president of basketball operations. He also took a minority ownership stake in the team.
"In talking to Glen, we came to the decision that this outcome would be the best for our franchise," said Saunders, who will continue to serve as the team's president of basketball operations. "I will work tirelessly to bring back the success our franchise experienced in the late '90s to early 2000s. To that end, I will assemble a diverse, experienced coaching staff that will bring out the best in our players."
Saunders also spent time as head coach of the Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards before his return to the Twin Cities. He has a record of 638-526 in parts of 16 seasons, including 411-326 with the Wolves.
He replaces the retired Rick Adelman, who spent three seasons with the Wolves and 23 years as a head coach in the NBA. Adelman guided Minnesota to a record of 97-133, including 40-42 this past season. The Wolves missed the playoffs for the 10th straight year, but the 40 wins were the club's most since a 44-38 mark in 2004-05.