Saunders to take over as Timberwolves head coach

Saunders is the only head coach to lead the Timberwolves to the playoffs. Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Timberwolves president Flip Saunders confirmed to ESPN.com on Thursday that he will be the team’s next head coach. A news conference has been scheduled for Friday.

Saunders, who previously coached the team from 1995 to 2005, had offered the position to Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger, but he decided to remain in Memphis. Saunders joined the Timberwolves’ front office last year and will continue in his role as team president, with general manager Milt Newton taking on added responsibilities.

There were a number of former head coaches who interviewed for the Timberwolves’ job, including Vinny Del Negro, Sam Mitchell, Lionel Hollins and Scott Skiles, although Joerger was the only applicant who was offered the position.

Saunders was 411-326 in his initial stint as Timberwolves head coach, before taking over the Detroit Pistons in 2005. He went 176-70 with the Pistons, losing in the conference finals in all three seasons, which led to his firing. He next joined the Washington Wizards in 2009, where he went 51-130 before he was fired 17 games into the 2011-12 season.