Just as they did in January, only more formal and for a permanent role this time, the Timberwolves introduced Ryan Saunders as head coach of the team Tuesday morning.
Among the glowing recommendations and questions for the 33-year-old now charged with leading the Wolves back to the playoff was an emotional 60 seconds in which Saunders fought back tears while thanking his mother, sisters and father, the late Flip Saunders, who spent 11 of his 17 seasons as an NBA head coach in Minnesota.
"I know he's here and he's looking down. I know he'd say that there's no place else he'd rather have me get my start in coaching. So I want to make sure I acknowledge my dad, Flip, and thank him for putting me this," Saunders said of his father.
Flip Saunders died of cancer in October 2015, shortly after selecting Karl-Anthony Towns with the No. 1 overall pick that summer's NBA Draft.
Towns has been a voice of support for the younger Saunders.
"He is one of the greatest communicators in all of the NBA, and that's his greatest strength in my opinion," Towns told Fox Sports North's Marney Gellner. "Very, very blessed to have him and call him our head coach full-time and not interim anymore."
Wolves owner Glen Taylor called Saunders "one of the bright, young coaching minds in the NBA," noting how impressed he is with "his modern approach to our growing game."
At 33-year-old, Saunders is the youngest head coach in the NBA.