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Legendary Michigan State coach Ron Mason dies at 76

Former Michigan State hockey coach Ron Mason, who was the winningest coach in college hockey when he retired in 2002, died Monday at the age of 76. 

Over 36 seasons, Mason won 924 games between Lake Superior State, Bowling Green and Michigan State. In 1986, Mason won a National Championship with the Spartans. This mark stood until Boston College’s Jerry York eclipsed Mason’s total in 2012.

Mason led Michigan State to the NCAA tournament 19 times in 23 seasons. 

Mason served as Michigan State’s Athletics Director from 2002-08. The Spartans’ hockey team won the National Championship in 2007.

The Hockey News notes Mason’s influence over college hockey extended beyond wins and losses.

During his time with Lake Superior State, Mason was a driving force behind the creation of the CCHA conference. The CCHA would later name its tournament trophy after the coach and became a major conference before it was disbanded in 2013 during college hockey’s latest big shakeup. That saw Michigan State join the new Big Ten conference, with Mason’s old Bowling Green and Lake Superior squads heading to the WCHA.

In his time in East Lansing, Mason coached several players who turned into longtime NHLers including Rod Brind’Amour, Anson Carter, Duncan Keith, Shawn Horcoff, Ryan Miller, Adam Hall, Bryan Smolinski and countless others.

Overall, 59 of Mason’s players went on to play in the NHL. In 2013 Mason was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

At Bowling Green State, Mason coached George McPhee, who was the general manager of the Washington Capitals from 1997 until 2014 and Brian MacLellan who replaced McPhee.

Born Jan. 14, 1940 in Blyth, Ontario, Mason is survived by his wife, Marion, daughters Tracey and Cindy, and grandsons Tyler and Travis Walsh. 

A cause of death was not immediately released. 

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