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'All I Ever Wanted To Do Was Be Like Flip Saunders'

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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Dave Joerger grew up in Staples, Minnesota and played his college ball in Moorhead.

He grew up watching the Timberwolves.

Shortly after college, he got into coaching with the Dakota Wizards, a CBA team.

Finally, after more than 15 years in the minor leagues and as an assistant, Joerger got his opportunity as a head coach with the Memphis Grizzlies.

His role model throughout this process?

Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders, who had also put his time in the basketball minor leagues.

“As a younger guy growing up, all I ever wanted to do was be like Flip Saunders,” Joerger, now the head coach of the Kings, said.

During Joerger’s rise, Saunders was there by his side to give him advice and plenty of encouragement.

“He kind of put his arm around me and I’ll forever appreciate all the advice that Flip gave me. The mentoring, the hours of X’s and O’s. He’s certainly a basketball mentor, but much more than that to me. The biggest thing that Flip did, I always felt like a million bucks when I was around him. ‘Hey kid, you can do this.’ As a Minnesotan, I would say thank you for all the happiness you brought our state for so many years.”

Flip Saunders Night will be on Thursday when the Wolves host the Lakers. A ceremony will be held about an hour before the 8 p.m. tipoff. Players will wear custom shoes honoring Flip and all fans in attendance will receive a commemorative coin, one of Flip’s trademarks during his time with the team.