Flip Saunders reportedly turns down U of M men's basketball coaching job [UPDATE]
Eight years after being fired by the Timberwolves, Flip reportedly has the inside track on the U of M job.
-- Original post published Friday afternoon; update at bottom --
Sure, you have to take everything "The Common Man" Dan Cole says during his KFAN show with a grain of salt, but his sources when it comes to University of Minnesota men's basketball have been solid.
For instance, last week Cole reported that even if Tubby Smith led the Gophers to the Sweet 16, his job was in jeopardy. Sure enough, even though at least one Twin Cities sports media figure thought Tubby had done enough to keep his job, he was fired Monday, the day after his team lost a round-of-32 game against Florida and three days after Smith led the Gophers to their first NCAA tournament victory in 16 years (and those victories didn't end up officially counting thanks to Jan Gangelhoff-gate).
So with that context in mind, we bring you the following tweet:
After consulting several sources, Common is reporting Flip is the next BB coach at the U of M.....
-- Dan Cole (@CommonManKFAN) March 29, 2013
It should be noted that the Common Man isn't the only reputable source reporting that Flip's return to the Minnesota basketball scene is either a done deal or very close to being done. Consider:
-- WCCO Radio (@wccoradio) March 29, 2013
Sources tell us No. 1 candidate as of today for Gophers job is not a Villa 7 guy. It is Flip Saunders.
-- Dan Barreiro (@DanBarreiroKFAN) March 29, 2013
Saunders, of course, played college ball at the U and then went on to coach the Minnesota Timberwolves during the most successful stretch in franchise history. After being fired by the Washington Wizards about a year ago, he returned to Minnesota and has become a regular on Dan Barreiro's KFAN show.
We'll update this post when more news emerges. And judging by the reaction on Twitter, if Flip is indeed hired to become the next Gophers men's basketball coach, most fans would regard that as very good news indeed. (Think Flip sent in his application via the U of M's public job posting?)
:::: UPDATE ::::
During an appearance on Dan Barrerio's KFAN show yesterday afternoon, Flip dodged questions about whether he'll be the next U of M men's basketball coach but sounded remarkably giddy, fueling speculating that he had the inside track on a job he covets.
But in a surprising twist, ESPN's Andy Katz reports this afternoon that Flip "has turned down an offer from Minnesota to be the next head coach at his alma mater," according to a source "with direct knowledge."
Saunders has also been rumored to be a possible successor to Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn if Glen Taylor opts to fire Kahn after the Wolves conclude their disappointing 2012-13 campaign.
But with the Gophers apparently having struck out on Shaka Smart, Fred Hoiberg, Brad Stevens, and now Flip, it appears there may have been a good deal of wisdom in the diss of Gophers AD Norwood Teague that Sid Hartman offered up after the Tubby firing: "What makes you think you can recruit a top guy that you haven't been able to recite a number one guy for years... this school has not been able to attract top guys."
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