Spartans prepare for somber farewell to Mason

Lynn Henning
The Detroit News
Ron Mason

East Lansing – With a sense of loss, but minus somberness, Michigan State and its community Thursday prepared to say farewell to Ron Mason, the former Spartans hockey coach and athletic director who died suddenly early Monday at age 76.

Colleagues, family, former players, fans and friends, gathered at Munn Arena, the site of so much grandeur during Mason’s long and record-setting career as a coach. Funeral services were scheduled for 2 p.m.

With his closed casket crested by white roses and placed on a pedestal, visitation and final respects to Mason began at 11 a.m. Among those attending were MSU football coach Mark Dantonio, basketball coach Tom Izzo and former athletic director Clarence Underwood.

A steady stream of people gathered amid the sound of soft, big-band music, to hug and pay tribute to a man of enormous impact on MSU’s galaxy from his arrival as hockey coach in 1979 to his retirement as athletic director in 2007.

Munn Arena’s center-ice overhead video board, as well as ice-level video screens, showed a steady rollover of photos from Mason’s personal and professional life.

Henning: Mason brought excellence, intelligence to MSU