Michigan State’s board of trustees officially confirmed hockey coach Ron Mason as the school’s next athletic director Wednesday.
The board’s vote was unanimous in support of the move, proposed by MSU president Peter McPherson. It is effective July 1, one day after current athletic director Clarence Underwood retires.
“Ron Mason is a superb leader, a skilled manager and a highly respected motivator,” McPherson said. “We expect his commitment to excellence to be the hallmark of our athletics department.”
Mason stunned the college hockey world in late January when it became known that he would succeed Underwood, ending his tenure as Michigan State’s hockey coach.
At a press conference January 28, Mason made the announcement public, saying, “It was a difficult decision to give up coaching and it will always be a major part of my life. … Being in the locker room, on the ice in pracice, playing games … it’s something that will be with you forever.
Michigan State has had experience with a current coach also serving as athletic director, when head football coach George Perles held both positions during the early 1990s. Perles’ tenure was rocky, however, and Mason dismissed such talk at the time of his announcement, saying, “You can’t do both jobs and do it right. I never once gave that even a thought.”
Mason is the 1992 winner of the Spencer Penrose Award as national coach of the year, and college hockey’s all-time leader in wins with over 900. Under his guidance, Michigan State won the NCAA championship in 1986.