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Ron Mason, pioneering MSU hockey coach, passes away at 76

Jun 13, 2016

Ron Mason, who spent 23 years as Michigan State's head hockey coach and ranks second on college hockey's all-time wins list with 924 career victories, passed away early Monday at age 76. 

Before serving as Michigan State's director of athletics from 2002 to 2007, Mason coached the Spartans through many of the most significant moments in the history of the program and, in some cases, college hockey. Mason was at the helm for the "Cold War," Michigan State's 3-3 tie with Michigan in front of 74,544 in an outdoor contest at Spartan Stadium, then a world record for attendance at a hockey game. He also coached Michigan State's two winners of the Hobey Baker Award, given to the best player in college hockey: Kip Miller in 1990 and Ryan Miller in 2001. 

The Spartans won the ice hockey national championship in 2007, when Mason was the athletic director.

"Coach Mason defined what it means to be a Spartan," MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon said in a news release. "His relentless quest for excellence on and off the rink made everyone around him better. He truly created a Spartan hockey family in which the focus was on collective success rather than worrying about who received credit. That drive translated into great accomplishments on the ice and in life for all those fortunate to work with or play for him." 

An Ontario native, Mason coached at Bowling Green and Lake Superior State before taking the helm in East Lansing. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 1994.