MINNEAPOLIS As the coaching search dragged on, past the one-week mark, Gophers basketball fans started to get restless. They had hoped it wouldn't take this long to find the replacement for Tubby Smith, who wore out his welcome in Minnesota and eventually was fired last Monday.
During that time, several potential candidates were brought up. That included Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart and Iowa State's Fred Hoiberg, both of whom received contract extensions amid the Gophers' pursuits. They were two names that Minnesota fans would have loved to see take over for Smith, but both turned down Minnesota's advances and were content at their current jobs.
Enter Flip Saunders, who was reportedly offered the Gophers job but turned it down. Saunders played college basketball at Minnesota and later coached the Minnesota Timberwolves, among other NBA teams. Fans seemed frustrated when Saunders turned down the job, forcing athletic director Norwood Teague to continue the coaching search.