Ryan Saunders on his emotional first game as Wolves coach

Flip's son admits he used a similar play to open game as his dad did

Chad Hartman
January 09, 2019 - 3:18 pm

Alonzo Adams USA Today

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Ryan Saunders is still riding high following his first game as Timberwolves head coach; a game that happened to be a dramatic victory over Oklahoma City.

The Wolves beat the Thunder Tuesday night in Oklahoma City, 119-117. Saunders says a lot of people reached out to him after the win.

"I got a couple of texts from a couple of my dad's old players last night that I'll keep to myself,"  Saunders told WCCO's Chad Hartman Wednesday.  "Acknowledging some of the plays I had run during the game last night, things like that.  I couple of these grown men said it brought a tear to their eye."

Saunders, the 32-year old son of the late Timberwolves coach and executive Flip Saunders, admitted to Chad he opened the game with a play that Flip used to run.

"Just for personal satisfaction. Because you only get (one chance) to run a play for the first time as a head coach in the NBA, I'm going to do that just as an ode to him.  I didn't know that anybody was going to pick up on it, but that was just something for myself."

Flip Saunders died in 2015 from complications with Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Ryan Saunders was named interim coach of the Timberwolves after Tom Thibodeau was fired.

More emotion is expected Friday night, when Ryan Saunders returns home with the Wolves to face the Dallas Mavericks at Target Center. The game will be broadcast on WCCO Radio beginning at 6:30pm.