Michigan State hockey is Ron Mason, but on Monday news came in that the legendary former men’s hockey head coach and athletic director passed away at the age of 76.
According to reports, Mason collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack early on Monday morning, leaving the MSU athletic program and hockey team stunned.
“I’m still stunned,” said current MSU hockey coach Tom Anastos, who played for Mason from 1981 to 1985. “Obviously, the loss of coach Mason comes as a huge shock to all of us. You’d always see him bouncing around with energy and with his intensity. To think we’re not going to see that is hard for me to get my arms around.”
While most kids today don’t see Spartans hockey as a threat in the Big Ten, it was once a power of the world of collegiate hockey under Mason’s tutelage. He spent 23 years as the head coach and took the program to one national title (1986) to go along with 17 CCHA regular season and tournament championships.
The Spartans also made 19 NCAA tournament appearances during his time behind the bench.
When he retired back in 2002, Mason did so as the winningest head coach in college hockey. His total of 924 career victories stood tall until Boston College legend Jerry York passed that total by back in 2012.
Mason also coached two Hobey Baker award winners in Kip Miller and Ryan Miller. Kip won it in 1990 and saw his cousin Ryan, a goaltender and not forward like him, win the award in 2001.
A total of 35 all-Americans and 50-plus future NHL players were coached by Mason at Michigan State alone.
Following the 2001-02 season, Mason stepped down as men’s hockey head coach to become the AD for MSU. It was a spot that he held until Dec. 31, 2007. He was heavy in bringing about changes to the athletic facilities and really got things going on renovations on the football facilities specifically.