July 25, 2013
East Lansing, Mich. - - Former Michigan State hockey coach and athletic director Ron Mason has been selected for induction into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame, as announced by USA Hockey on Thursday, July 25. Mason enters the Hall as part of the Class of 2013 along with Cindy Curley (Hudson, Mass.), Bill Guerin (Worcester, Mass.), Peter Karmanos, Jr. (Raleigh, N.C.), and Doug Weight (Warren, Mich.)
"This is a class that represents extraordinary contribution and success in many different areas of our sport," said Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey. "It's a truly remarkable collection of individuals, all so very deserving of their place among immortals in the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame."
The Class of 2013 will be formally installed into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame this fall with a location and date to be announced in the near future. Ron Mason made a positive impact on many people - within the sport of hockey he was a dynamic leader both on and off the ice," said Michigan State Director of Athletics Mark Hollis. "Though his commitment to youth hockey, success as a college coach, and mentor to men that played in the NHL and other professions, he continues to make a positive impact across our nation. Tom Anastos, who played for Coach Mason and helped instill that "Tradition of Excellence" delivers those same attributes to individuals surrounding our campus and the sport of ice hockey.
"As a student, I admired Ron Mason," continued Hollis. "As his associate, I respected his leadership. And, as a friend, I value his sincerity. I look forward to sharing a special tribute with others when he is inducted and we acknowledge the positive values Ron made on the game and our society."
I had the privilege of working with Ron on several levels - I was one of his early recruits to Michigan State, I coached alongside him, worked with him as an administrator, and that relationship has been special to me in each of those situations," said MSU head coach Tom Anastos. Ron Mason has made an incredible impact on the game in so many ways. His winning speaks for itself. "In my opinion, Ron's ability to develop talent, inspire coaches and push others around him to get better, and putting what's best for the game as his highest priority are the things that I feel have been his greatest contributions to hockey."
Mason spent 36 years behind the bench in college hockey, and finished his coaching career with a record of 924-380-83. In 23 years at MSU, he posted a 635-270-69 mark.. His career highlights include an NCAA Championship at Michigan State in 1986 and an NAIA Championship with Lake Superior State in 1972. He led MSU to 17 CCHA regular-season and playoff titles and guided 23 teams to the NCAA Tournament, an all-time record. In addition, he coached 35 All-Americans and 50 former Spartans who went onto to establish careers in the National Hockey League.
Following his illustrious coaching career, Mason took on a different role, serving as MSU's Athletics Director. During his tenure as AD, MSU teams captured 11 conference championships (regular season and postseason combined) and one national championship (hockey, 2007). In addition, MSU was represented at the NCAA Championships 76 times, including Final Four/Frozen Four appearances by men's basketball (2005), women's basketball (2005), field hockey (2002 and 2004) and ice hockey (2007).
Mason also led a renaissance of fund raising in the department and construction of athletic facilities on campus, including the Berkowitz Basketball Complex, the Spartan Stadium Tower, the Skandalaris Football Center and the beginning stages of the Old College Field project.
In 1966, Mason began his coaching career as the first head coach at Lake Superior State where he also served as assistant athletics director. He guided the Lakers to five NAIA Tournament appearances, including the 1972 National Championship. Three of his other teams finished as NAIA runners-up.
In 1973, he moved on to Bowling Green, establishing the Falcons as a national hockey power. In six seasons, he led Bowling Green to three CCHA regular-season titles (1976, 1978, 1979) and three playoff championships (1977, 1978, 1979). His 1977-78 squad finished third in the NCAA Tournament with an impressive 31-8 record. The following season, his BGSU squad established a then-national record with 37 wins. While at BGSU, he coached two members of the 1980 U.S. Gold Medal Oympic Hockey Team - Ken Morrow and Mark Wells.
Mason's Michigan State career began with the 1979-80 season when he replaced the legendary Amo Bessone. The seven time CCHA Coach of the Year led Michigan State to league regular-season championships in 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1998, 1999 and 2001. He also guided the Spartans to CCHA playoff crowns in 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1998, 2000 and 2001. In 2001, the CCHA honored Mason by renaming the CCHA playoff trophy - The Mason Cup - in his honor due to his contributions to college hockey and formation of the CCHA as well as his success behind the bench.
Among his Spartan coaching highlights are on March 12, 1993, Mason reached a personal milestone as MSU defeated Kent, 6-5, making him the winningest U.S. college hockey coach. One season later on March 18, 1994, a win over Bowling Green established him as the winningest college hockey coach in North America. In 2001-02, Mason's final campaign as the Spartan coach, he recorded his unprecedented 900th-win as a college hockey coach with a victory over Ferris State (Oct. 20, 2001). His 924 career victories stood as the most in college hockey history until December 2012, when he was passed by Boston College mentor Jerry York.
Mason also had a first-hand perspective on one of MSU's biggest athletic endeavors, as he coached his Spartans against Michigan in front of a then-world-record crowd of 74,554 in an outdoor hockey game at Spartan Stadium (Oct. 6, 2001).
Mason coached MSU's only two Hobey Baker Award winners - Kip Miller in 1990 and Ryan Miller in 2001. He also coached the first college player - Joe Murphy - to be taken first overall in the NHL Draft in 1986 by the Detroit Red Wings.
Mason served on the American Hockey Association Board of Directors from 1973 to 1977 and is a former member of the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee and NCAA Ice Hockey Committee.
Mason received his bachelor's degree from St. Lawrence in 1964, where he lettered in hockey for three years. In 1965, he received his master's from Pittsburgh. He was presented with an honorary doctorate from Michigan State in the spring of 2001.
For all his career accomplishments, Mason has been inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame (1994), Lake Superior Sports Hall of Fame (1996) St. Lawrence University Sports Hall of Fame (1999), Bowling Green Athletics Hall of Fame (2009) and Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame (2010). In addition, the American Hockey Coaches Association honored him with the John MacInnes Award for his outstanding contributions to hockey in the spring of 2003, and he received the Hobey Baker Memorial Award Foundation's 2004 "Legend of Hockey" in April 2004.
Born Jan. 14, 1940, in Blyth, Ont., Mason and his wife, Marion, recently celebrated 50 years of marriage. They have two daughters, Tracey and Cindy, and two grandsons, Tyler and Travis Walsh. Tyler recently accepted a position as the Director of Hockey Operations/Video Coordinator at Canisius College, while Travis is a sophomore defenseman at Michigan State. An avid fisherman, Mason also enjoys golfing.
The U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame was founded in 1973. To date, there are 156 enshrined members in the Hall. For information on members of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, visit USHockeyHallofFame.com