From one college hockey legend to another, Bill Crawford said Ron Mason “never forgot” his coaching roots that first sprouted at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie.
The 76-year old Mason, who was the first-ever varsity hockey coach at LSSU, passed away on Sunday from an apparent heart attack.
And Crawford, the venerable radio play-by-play man and self-styled “Voice of Laker Hockey”, paid tribute to Mason after learning of his passing.
“Great coach, incredible competitor and teacher,” Crawford said of Mason. “A Laker Hall of Famer, he never forgot LSSU or his roots. A tireless spokesman for college hockey.”
The Canadian-born Mason was hired by another legend, LSSU athletic director Bud Cooper, to lead the maiden Laker hockey program in 1966.
In seven seasons at LSSU, Mason compiled a 129-47-9 mark and guided the Lakers to five National Athletic Intercollegiate Association tournament appearances, including a pair of championships.
Notably, current LSSU head coach Damon Whitten played for Mason at Michigan State University. Mason began his coaching legacy with the Spartans of Michigan State in 1979 after a six-year gig at at fellow Division 1, National Collegiate Athletic Association rival Bowling Green State University, which is where he went after LSSU.
Mason would coach for 23 years at Michigan State, winning the NCAA national championship in 1986 while posting an overall record of 635-270-69 that included seven league titles. He later became athletic director at Michigan State.
Overall, between stops at Lake State, Bowling Green and Michigan State, Mason coached for 36 years and posted a record of 924-380-83 with the Lakers, Falcons and Spartans.
He was inducted into the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013.
PHOTO: Ron Mason, former head coach at Lake Superior State, Bowling Green and Michigan State, is a member of the United States Hockey Hall of Fame.