Saturday , Feb , 12 , 2005 C.Y. Ellis

Flip fired: T-wolves axe Saunders

=== Flip fired: T-wolves axe Saunders ===

Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) – After getting off to a disappointing
start to the season, the Minnesota Timberwolves fired Flip Saunders as head
coach on Saturday. Vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale will
take over the duties for the remainder of the year.

The Timberwolves are marred in a major slump, posting a 1-7 mark over their
last eight contests to fall to 25-26 this season. The club dropped a 100-82
decision to the lowly Utah Jazz on Friday night with star Kevin Garnett
scoring a season-low tying 12 points.

Minnesota, which advanced to the Western Conference finals last year, is 11
1/2 games behind Northwest Division leading Seattle. If the playoffs were to
start today, the Timberwolves would not qualify for the first time since
missing the 1995-96 postseason.

Saunders has been at the helm of the Timberwolves since replacing Bill Blair
after 20 games of the 1995-96 season. Last year he led the club to its best-
ever mark of 58-24, which was also good enough for the league’s top record.

Saunders, 49, leaves the bench with a 411-326 mark. He will be re-assigned
within the organization.

McHale, a Boston Celtic great, started his career with the Timberwolves in
1993-94. He has served as a special assistant to the coaching staff (1993-94),
broadcast analyst (1993-95) and assistant general manager (1994-95) before
moving into his current role in May of 1995.

This will mark the first time McHale has been a head coach in the NBA.