Ron Mason

Ronald Herbert Mason (January 14, 1940 – June 13, 2016) was a Canadian ice hockey player, head coach, and university executive. A head coach of various American universities, most notably Michigan State University (MSU), he was the most successful coach in NCAA ice hockey history between 1993-2012 with 924 wins, until Jerry York (Boston College) become the new winningest coach with his 925th career win on December 29, 2012.[1] Mason was athletic director at MSU from 2002-08. He then served as senior advisor for the USHL Muskegon Lumberjacks.[2] On December 2, 2013, Mason was inducted into the U.S Hockey Hall of Fame.

Ron Mason
Biographical details
Born(1940-01-14)January 14, 1940
Blyth, Ontario, Canada
DiedJune 13, 2016(2016-06-13) (aged 76)
Haslett, Michigan, United States
Playing career
1960–1963St. Lawrence University
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
19671973Lake Superior State
19731979Bowling Green
19792002Michigan State
Administrative career (AD unless noted)
2002–2007Michigan State
Head coaching record
Overall92438083 (.696)


Ron Mason was born the son of Harvey Mason, a salesman, and Agnes Mackay Mason, an elementary school teacher. He married the former Marion Bell on June 8, 1963. They had two daughters, Tracey (born 1963) and Cindy (born 1968) and two grandsons, Tyler and Travis.[3] Travis was a defenseman on the Michigan State University hockey team until his graduation in 2016.[4] Mason had one sister, Marion Mason Rowe.


Mason earned a B.A. in physical education from St. Lawrence University in 1964 and a Masters in physical education from the University of Pittsburgh in 1965. Michigan State University awarded Mason an honorary doctorate in 2001.[5]

Career as player

Mason played junior hockey with the Ontario Hockey Association’s Peterborough Petes and the Ottawa Junior Canadians. From there Mason enrolled at St. Lawrence University in the upstate town of Canton, New York where he lettered in hockey for three years. In his first season at SLU in 1960-61, Mason and the Skating Saints were NCAA national finalists.[1] In 1961-62, Mason and SLU won the school's first Eastern College Athletic Conference championship and made the NCAA Frozen Four.[1] In his final season, SLU won a school-record 20 games[1] finishing 20–6–1. Mason lead the team in scoring twice[1] earning back-to-back first-team all league honors. Mason was St. Lawrence's only player to earn that distinction until T. J. Trevelyan was named all league in 2005 and 2006.[6]

Career as coach

Mason coached one NAIA program, Lake Superior State, and two NCAA programs, Bowling Green State and Michigan State in 36 seasons from 1966-2002. He won two national titles: NAIA in 1972 with Lake Superior State and NCAA in 1986 with Michigan State.[7] Ron Mason finished his coaching career as the all-time career victories leader in college hockey history with 924 wins. Boston College's Jerry York surpassed Mason's win total on December 31, 2012. Mason is also the career coaching victories leader at Michigan State with 635 wins. He is Bowling Green State's winningest coach by percentage winning over 71 percent of his 229 games at BGSU.

Mason had 33 seasons with a winning record, 30 seasons winning 20 or more games and 11 seasons winning 30 or more games. Mason won ten CCHA regular season championships and a record 13 CCHA tournament titles. He advanced his teams to the NCAA tournament 22 times—six times as the No. 1 seed—making the Frozen Four eight times. Mason was the CCHA coach of the year six times. He won the Spencer Penrose Memorial Trophy as the national coach of the year in 1992.[8]

On January 26, 2002, a media report stated Mason would step down as coach at Michigan State to take over the athletic director position at MSU. On January 28, 2002, Mason made it official he would leave his post as head ice hockey coach to become athletic director.[9]

Lake Superior State

Mason started the hockey program at Lake Superior State University in 1966. In seven seasons at LSSU he produced four 20-win seasons and never lost more than 10 games. He guided the Lakers to the 1972 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national championship.[3]

Bowling Green State

In 1973 he moved to Bowling Green State University where he won three Central Collegiate Hockey Association regular season titles and three consecutive CCHA tournament titles in six seasons. In 1977 Bowling Green State earned their first berth in the NCAA tournament. The berth was a first for a team not from the Western Collegiate Hockey Association or Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference[10] in the NCAA tournament's 30 year history. It was the first of three consecutive NCAA tournaments under Mason. BGSU won the third-place game over defending national champion Wisconsin in the 1978 NCAA Frozen Four. In 1978-79 Mason coached BGSU to a then NCAA record 37 wins.[11] The record would be broken in 1984-85 by Mason's own Michigan State team.[12]

Michigan State

Michigan State University Athletic Director Joseph Kearney hired Mason to replace the retiring Amo Bessone on April 1, 1979.[13] In his third season at MSU, Mason guided Michigan State to their first NCAA tournament in 15 seasons. Four seasons later in 1986, Mason led Michigan State to the school's second national title.[14] Michigan State returned to the championship game the following season but lost to North Dakota. On March 12, 1993, with a 6-5 win over Kent State, Mason passed former Boston College coach Len Ceglarski to become college hockey's all-time winningest coach with 674 wins.[15] While at MSU, Mason won a conference-record 10 CCHA tournament championships, including a conference-record four straight from 1982-85. In addition, MSU under Mason won seven CCHA regular season titles, earned 19 NCAA tournament appearances, and earned seven NCAA Frozen Four appearances.

Career as athletic director

Ron Mason began his duties as athletic director on July 1, 2002.[16] Before he officially became athletic director, Mason chose Rick Comley as his successor as hockey coach.

On November 4, 2002, after a disappointing season and a series of off-the-field incidents with players, Mason fired head football coach Bobby Williams with three games left in the season and eventually hired John L. Smith away from Louisville as his permanent replacement.[3] Mason fired Smith after three consecutive losing seasons leading some to believe he did not know what he was doing. However, Mason redeemed himself by hiring Mark Dantonio away from Cincinnati, who brought the Spartans to football prominence.

While athletic director, the Michigan State hockey team won the school's third national title in 2007. Mason is the only person to have won NCAA ice hockey titles as head coach and athletic director.

Mason placed a priority seat licensing program in Spartan Stadium based on years of holding season tickets, contribution to the Ralph Young Fund, and a licensing fee for better seats on top of the price of season tickets. Further updates to increase revenue in Spartan Stadium included a $64 million USD expansion and improvements which include:[3]

  • 24 luxury suites
  • 800 club seats
  • The "Grand Entrance" featuring high ceilings, glass walls, marble floors and a new home for the original Sparty statue
  • 18,000-square-foot (1,700 m2) luxury concourse
  • Office space for Career Services, University Advancement and the MSU Alumni Office
  • State of the art recruiting lounge
  • Upgraded stadium-wide bathroom and concourse renovations
  • An increase of 3000 seats, bringing the total stadium capacity to 75,005

In September 2006, Michigan State University's Board of Trustees approved a contract extension for Mason extending his contract as MSU's athletic director through June 2008. He retired from the post of athletic director at Michigan State University on January 1, 2008, and was succeeded by Mark Hollis.[13]

Legacy with the CCHA

In addition to his success as a coach, Mason was involved in organizing the Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and helping it to grow into one of the most powerful college hockey conferences of the 1980s, '90s, and 2000s.[7] When Mason began coaching in 1966 there were only two major conferences in the NCAA, the Eastern College Athletic Conference and the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. While building the ice hockey program at Lake Superior State to Division I status, Mason found that his team was left without a conference. In 1972 Mason, along with Bowling Green State University's Jack Vivian, St. Louis University's Bill Selman, Ohio State University's Dave Chambers, Ohio University's John McComb and the CCHA's first commissioner Fred Jacoby, formed the Central Collegiate Hockey Association.[10] Mason's coaching tenure at Bowling Green State produced the CCHA's first NCAA tournament berth, first appearance in the NCAA Frozen Four, and first national No. 1 ranking.[10]

For his contributions in helping build the CCHA, the conference renamed their tournament championship trophy as the Mason Cup in 2000–01.[7]


Mason volunteered with the Sparrow Foundation where he established the Ron Mason Fund for Pediatric Rehabilitation which helps children with disabilities. The fund has raised $675,000 for the foundation since 1998.[5] He was also honorary chairperson for the Children's Miracle Network which has raised $19 million plus since 1989.[5]

Notable players coached

In his 36 years, Mason coached a number of outstanding players.

Hobey Baker Award winners

Ryan Miller2001GoalieMichigan StateWon award as a sophomore goaltender. Cousin of 1990 winner Kip Miller.[17]
Kip Miller1990ForwardMichigan StateMichigan State's first Hobey Baker Award winner.
George McPhee1982ForwardBowling Green StateMason recruited McPhee to BGSU and coached him for one season.[18]

Hobey Baker Award finalists

Ron Scott1982 and 1983
Kelly Miller1985
Craig Simpson1985
Mike Donnelly1986
Bobby Reynolds1989
Bryan Smolinski1993
Anson Carter1995
Chad Alban1998
Mike York1998 and 1999
Shawn Horcoff2000
Ryan Miller2002

AHCA All-America

Don Muio1972GoalieLake Superior StateCollege Division
Jim Wiley1972ForwardLake Superior StateCollege Division
Ken Morrow1978DefenseBowling Green State
Ron Scott1982GoalieMichigan State
Ron Scott1983GoalieMichigan State
Dan McFall1984DefenseMichigan StateSecond Team
Dan McFall1985DefenseMichigan State
Kelly Miller1985ForwardMichigan State
Craig Simpson1985ForwardMichigan State
Gary Haight1985DefenseMichigan StateSecond Team
Mike Donnelly1986ForwardMichigan State
Don McSween1986DefenseMichigan StateSecond Team
Mitch Messier1987ForwardMichigan State
Don McSween1987DefenseMichigan StateSecond Team
Kip Miller1989ForwardMichigan State
Bobby Reynolds1989ForwardMichigan State
Kip Miller1990ForwardMichigan State
Jason Muzzatti1990GoalieMichigan StateSecond Team
Jason Woolley1991DefenseMichigan State
Joby Messier1992DefenseMichigan State
Dwayne Norris1992ForwardMichigan State
Bryan Smolinski1993ForwardMichigan State
Steve Guolla1994ForwardMichigan StateSecond Team
Anson Carter1995ForwardMichigan StateSecond Team
Chad Alban1998GoalieMichigan State
Mike York1998ForwardMichigan State
Tyler Harlton1998DefenseMichigan StateSecond Team
Sean Berens1998ForwardMichigan StateSecond Team
Joe Blackburn1999GoalieMichigan State
Mike York1999ForwardMichigan State
Mike Weaver1999DefenseMichigan StateSecond Team
Shawn Horcoff2000ForwardMichigan State
Mike Weaver2000DefenseMichigan State
Ryan Miller2001GoalieMichigan State
Ryan Miller2002GoalieMichigan State
Andrew Hutchinson2002DefenseMichigan StateSecond Team
John-Michael Liles2002DefenseMichigan StateSecond Team

CCHA Player of the Year

Mike Liut1977GoalieBowling Green State
John Markell1978ForwardBowling Green State
Ken Morrow1979DefenseBowling Green State
Kip Miller1990ForwardMichigan State
Dwayne Norris1992ForwardMichigan State
Chad Alban1998GoalieMichigan State
Mike York1999ForwardMichigan State
Shawn Horcoff2000ForwardMichigan State
Ryan Miller2001GoalieMichigan State
Ryan Miller2002GoalieMichigan State

NHL first round draft picks

Craig Simpson1985Pittsburgh Penguins2nd
Joe Murphy*1986Detroit Red Wings1st
Jason Muzzatti1988Calgary Flames21st
Rod Brind'Amour1988St. Louis Blues9th
Bryan Smolinski1990Boston Bruins21st
Michael Stewart1990New York Rangers13th
Jim Slater2002Atlanta Thrashers30th

Joe Murphy was first NCAA player selected first overall[5][19]

Select NHL players

Rod Brind'AmourMichigan State21 seasons
Anson CarterMichigan State12 seasons
Danton ColeMichigan State7 seasons
Jim CumminsMichigan State12 seasons
Bob EssensaMichigan State12 seasons
Steve GuollaMichigan State6 seasons
Adam HallMichigan State10 seasons
Shawn HorcoffMichigan State11 seasons
Andrew HutchinsonMichigan State6 seasons
Duncan KeithMichigan State6 seasons
John-Michael LilesMichigan State8 seasons
Mike LiutBowling Green State13 seasons
Chris LuongoMichigan State4 seasons
Brian MacLellanBowling Green State10 seasons
George McPheeBowling Green State7 seasons
Kelly MillerMichigan State16 seasons
Kevin MillerMichigan State12 seasons
Kip MillerMichigan State12 seasons
Ryan MillerMichigan State9 seasons
Ken MorrowBowling Green State10 seasons
Joe MurphyMichigan State15 seasons
Rem MurrayMichigan State9 seasons
Craig SimpsonMichigan State10 seasons
Jim SlaterMichigan State7 seasons
Bryan SmolinskiMichigan State17 seasons
Mike WattMichigan State5 seasons
Mike WeaverMichigan State10 seasons
Peter WhiteMichigan State10 seasons
Jim WileyLake Superior State4 seasons
Neil WilkinsonMichigan State10 seasons
Jason WoolleyMichigan State14 seasons
Mike YorkMichigan State10 seasons


Bob Dobek1976USA
Doug Ross1976USA
Ken Morrow1980USAGold
Mark Wells1980USAGold
Gary Haight1984USA
Kevin Miller1988USA
Geir Hoff1988Norway
Brian Stankiewicz1988Austria
Jason Woolley1992CanadaSilver
Geir Hoff1992Norway
Dwayne Norris1994CanadaSilver
Geir Hoff1994Norway
Brian Stankiewicz1994Austria
Rod Brind'Amour1998Canada
Mike York2002USASilver
John-Michael Liles2006USA
Jason Muzzatti2006Italy
Tony Tuzzolino2006Italy
Ryan Miller2010, 2014USASilver ('10)
Duncan Keith2010, 2014CanadaGold ('10, '14)

Coaching tree

Many former and current college hockey head coaches can trace their lineage back to Ron Mason as shown below either as former players or former assistant coaches for Mason.

Head coaching record

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Lake Superior State Lakers (Independent) (1966–1967)
1966–67 Lake Superior State 15-5-0
Lake Superior State Lakers (ICHA) (1967–1972)
1967–68 Lake Superior State 21-3-215-1-01stNAIA Finalist
1968–69 Lake Superior State 21-5-012-4-02ndNAIA Finalist
1969–70 Lake Superior State 19-7-010-2-0T-1stNAIA Finalist
1970–71 Lake Superior State 13-7-45-5-23rd
1971–72 Lake Superior State 20-8-212-0-01stNAIA Champion
Lake Superior State Lakers (CCHA) (1972–1973)
1972–73 Lake Superior State 21-9-09-3-02ndNAIA Third Place
Lake Superior State: 130-44-864-15-2
Bowling Green Falcons (CCHA) (1973–1979)
1973–74 Bowling Green 20-19-02-6-03rdCCHA Third Place Game (Win)
1974–75 Bowling Green 23-10-24-3-12ndCCHA Semifinals
1975–76 Bowling Green 21-9-211-4-11stCCHA Semifinals
1976–77 Bowling Green 28-11-010-6-02ndNCAA Quarterfinal
1977–78 Bowling Green 31-8-015-3-01stNCAA Consolation Game (Win)
1978–79 Bowling Green 37-6-221-2-11stNCAA Quarterfinal
Bowling Green: 160-63-663-24-3
Michigan State Spartans (WCHA / Big Ten) (1979–1981)
1979–80 Michigan State 14-24-012-16-08th / 3rdWCHA Quarterfinals
1980–81 Michigan State 12-22-27-20-110th / 4th
Michigan State Spartans (CCHA) (1981–2002)
1981–82 Michigan State 26-14-221-10-12ndNCAA Quarterfinals
1982–83 Michigan State 30-11-123-9-02ndNCAA Quarterfinals
1983–84 Michigan State 34-12-021-9-0T-2ndNCAA Consolation Game (Loss)
1984–85 Michigan State 38-6-027-5-01stNCAA Quarterfinals
1985–86 Michigan State 34-9-223-7-21stNCAA Champion
1986–87 Michigan State 33-10-223-8-12ndNCAA Runner-Up
1987–88 Michigan State 27-16-318-11-33rdNCAA Quarterfinals
1988–89 Michigan State 37-9-125-6-11stNCAA Consolation Game (Win)
1989–90 Michigan State 35-7-326-3-31stNCAA Quarterfinals
1990–91 Michigan State 17-18-514-13-55thCCHA Quarterfinals
1991–92 Michigan State 26-10-818-7-73rdNCAA Frozen Four
1992–93 Michigan State 24-14-218-10-24thCCHA Second Round
1993–94 Michigan State 23-13-417-8-53rdNCAA Regional Quarterfinals
1994–95 Michigan State 25-12-317-7-33rdNCAA Regional Quarterfinals
1995–96 Michigan State 28-13-122-7-1T-3rdNCAA Regional Quarterfinals
1996–97 Michigan State 23-13-416-7-43rdNCAA Regional Quarterfinals
1997–98 Michigan State 33-6-521-5-41stNCAA Regional Semifinals
1998–99 Michigan State 29-6-720-3-71stNCAA Frozen Four
1999–00 Michigan State 27-11-418-8-22ndNCAA Regional Quarterfinals
2000–01 Michigan State 33-5-421-4-31stNCAA Frozen Four
2001–02 Michigan State 27-9-518-6-42ndNCAA Regional Quarterfinals
Michigan State: 635-270-69

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

See also

Awards and honors

Award Year
All-ECAC Hockey First Team 1961–62
ECAC Hockey All-Tournament First Team 1962
All-ECAC Hockey First Team 1962–63
ECAC Hockey All-Tournament Second Team 1963


  1. "Ron Mason '64". St. Lawrence University. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  2. "Lumberjacks Make Changes to Hockey Operations Staff" (Press release). USHL. January 13, 2012. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  3. Koepke, Neil (June 9, 2008). "The Mason Era". Lansing State Journal. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  4. Mackinder, Matt (January 31, 2012). "Checking In: Former Michigan State coach Ron Mason". USCHO. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  5. "Mason To Be Honored as Distinguished Alumnus at Hockey Banquet" (Press release). Michigan State University. March 11, 2008. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
  6. "ST. LAWRENCE'S MADILL AND TREVELYAN INK NHL DEALS" (Press release). ECAC Hockey. August 28, 2006. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  7. "CCHA Trophy Renamed In Honor Of Mason" (Press release). Michigan State University. October 4, 2000. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  8. "Spencer Penrose Award (Division I Coach of the Year)". AHCA. Archived from the original on January 16, 2010. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  9. Wodon, Adam (January 28, 2002). "Mason Elaborates on Decision to Step Down". USCHO. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  10. "Moments in CCHA History". Central Collegiate Hockey Association. Archived from the original on December 25, 2010. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  11. "Ron Mason: 2009 BGSU Hall of Fame Inductee" (Press release). Bowling Green State University. October 19, 2009. Retrieved August 26, 2012.
  12. Kravitz, Bob (April 7, 1986). "Fast Finish For The Spartans". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
  13. "HIS WAY: A retirement tribute to Ron Mason". Michigan State University. June 13, 2008. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  14. Koepke, Neil (February 21, 2011). "MSU hockey: Goal No. 1". Lansing State Journal. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved August 28, 2010.
  15. "Faces In The Crowd". Sports Illustrated. April 12, 1993. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  16. "Ron Mason, one of nation's top coaches, named director of athletics at MSU" (Press release). Michigan State University. February 13, 2002. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  17. "Michigan State's Miller captures trophy". USA Today. April 18, 2001. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  18. Miller, Bob (February 27, 2012). "College Hockey, Inc's Nate Ewell talks with CHP". College Hockey PROSPECTive. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  19. "Hockey in the United States". National Hockey League. Archived from the original on October 23, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Award Created
Bill Selman

Bill Wilkinson
Frank Anzalone

John Markell
CCHA Coach of the Year
Succeeded by
Bill Selman

Rick Comley
Bill Wilkinson

Jeff Jackson
Scott Borek
Preceded by
Rick Comley
Spencer Penrose Award
Succeeded by
George Gwozdecky
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Amo Bessone
Michigan State Head Ice Hockey Coach
Succeeded by
Rick Comley
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.