MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Timberwolves have officially named Ryan Saunders head coach. He has been the team’s interim head coach since January.

“I look forward to building on what we established last season in terms of instilling a positive environment for our players to grow on and off the court,” Saunders said.

Saunders, 33, took over coaching duties after head coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau was fired. He served as the interim head coach over the team’s final 42 games of the 2018-19 season.

Saunders has been with the Timberwolves since 2014, serving as assistant coach for more than four seasons before being named interim head coach.

“In Ryan, we are getting one of the bright, young coaching minds in the NBA,” Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor said. “I am impressed with how he has developed relationships with our players and with his modern approach to our growing game.”

Saunders graduated from the University of Minnesota, where he played four seasons with the Golden Gophers.

“Ryan is an excellent communicator and has developed open and trusting relationships with our players,” Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas said. “I’ve known Ryan for many years and have always respected his approach to the game, work ethic, basketball knowledge and passion.”

His father, the late Flip Saunders, was the Timberwolves head coach twice.