NEW YORK, Jan. 26 –- Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders will coach the Western Conference All-Stars at the 2004 NBA All-Star Game, to be played on Sunday, Feb. 15, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.

Flip Saunders was named the Timberwolves' head coach Dec. 18, 1995.
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Saunders clinched the coaching honor with Monday night's 97-95 Timberwolves victory over the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center. Saunders is the first Timberwolves head coach to coach in the NBA All-Star Game.

Head coaches for the East and West All-Star teams are based on teams with the best winning percentage in each conference following the Sunday games played two weeks prior to the All-Star Game (Feb. 1). With their victory Monday night, the Timberwolves ensured themselves the best winning percentage by the Feb. 1 deadline.

Late last week, Indiana Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle was named head coach of the Eastern Conference All-Stars.

Saunders is in his eighth full season as the Timberwolves head coach, having joined the team after spending seven seasons as a coach in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA). Initially named general manager of the Timberwolves, he was soon named head coach of the team, and has since guided Minnesota to the playoffs in each of the seven full seasons he has coached.

His 359 career coaching victories ranks 33rd on the NBA’s all-time win list. During the 2002-03 season, the Timberwolves won a franchise-record 51 games, finishing 51-31 for the fourth-best record in the NBA. He also led Minnesota to 50-win seasons in 2001-02 and 1999-2000.

Saunders finished his tenure in the CBA ranked third all-time with 253 victories, including seven consecutive seasons of 30 or more victories, two CBA championships, two CBA Coach of the Year honor and 23 CBA-to-NBA player promotions.

In September 2001 he led the U.S. Men’s Basketball team to a 5-0 record and gold medal at the Goodwill Games in Brisbane, Australia.

All-Star starters for both the Eastern and Western Conference will be announced on Thursday, January 29 and the All-Star Reserves will be announced on Tuesday, February 3.

The 2004 NBA All-Star Game will be broadcast on TNT and NBA on ESPN RADIO on Sunday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. EST.