By: Aj Mansour | KFAN.com
Minneapolis, MN - The vicious cycle of coaches being rumored to the Gophers vacant position only to turn down the job and go elsewhere continues on a lovely Saturday afternoon in Minnesota, but this one hurts bad. The latest candidate was thought to have been a lock if and when the Gophers came knocking. Still, reports surfaced Saturday afternoon that former NBA Coach and Gophers player Flip Saunders was offered, and turned down the coaching job at the University of Minnesota. Our Dan Barreiro was the first to report:
"Teague Offeer to Saunders was rejected by the former Gopher and NBA Coach..."
"..Flip Saunders only comment "I'll always bleed maroon and gold, will help the program anyway I can...I enjoy my NBA analyst job at ESPN."
— Dan Barreiro (@DanBarreiro) March 30, 2013
Saunders, 58, emerged as the leading candidate for the Gophers coaching position on Friday, but it only took 24 hours for him to find something he didn't like and turn down the job.
It's unknown how many coaches have already been offered the job at Minnesota, but it's assumed that Saunders is the third (maybe fourth) coach to have turned down the opportunity to lead the Gophers. Lack of a practice facility, lack of history and lack of talent may be keeping coaches away but we've reached a point in the search where the Gophers seriously have to be concerned about their odds of landing a big name coaching candidate in Minnesota.
Left on the board currently you can throw out names like Anthony Grant (Alabama), Andy Enfield (FGCU) and Jay Wright (Villanova), but I also wouldn't rule out Marquette head coach Buzz Williams as a guy who could have interest in the Minnesota gig despite the hot run the Golden Eagles are enjoying right now.
No matter where they land at this point, it's beginning to look less and less like Norwood Teague will pull in that big name flashy coach they were likely hoping for when they made the decision to fire Tubby Smith.
It's a stark situation for the University, but in all reality it may be a reminder of how unpleasant the state of the Gophers basketball program is right now.
Aj Mansour covers the Twins, Vikings, & Gopher Football for KFAN.com. Feel free to leave comments and questions on this post or others in the designated comment box below. For Golden Gopher updates and breaking news follow Aj on Twitter @AjKFAN