Michigan State hockey started its 2023-2024 season off on the right foot this weekend with a two-game sweep of visiting Lake Superior State.

MSU also formally dedicated the rink at Munn Ice Arena in honor of the legendary Ron Mason, who coached the Spartan icers for 23 seasons from 1979 to 2002. He racked up 924 wins over his 36 seasons as a college hockey coach, which included stops at LSSU (1966-1973), Bowling Green (1973-1979), and MSU. Mason retired as college hockey's all-time winningest coach. He died in 2016.

Here's more on Mason's storied career, from an MSU press release:

"The legacy of Ron Mason is felt throughout our arena every day," said MSU head coach Adam Nightingale.  "He set high standards and had some of the most legendary teams and athletes in the sport under his guidance.  This rink is where his teams entertained hundreds of thousands of fans during a decades-long sellout streak and he developed players into NHL prospects every day.  It is a fitting tribute to a coaching legend for all he meant not only to us here at Michigan State, but also the game of college hockey."


Mason guided 22 of his teams to the NCAA Tournament, tied for second-best all-time.   He was one of the architects of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association in 1972 and went on to capture 10 CCHA regular season championships and 13 CCHA postseason crowns.

The American Hockey Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in 1992, Mason was the CCHA Coach of the Year seven times.  Among the thousands of players Mason mentored were a pair of Hobey Baker Memorial Award winners (cousins Kip and Ryan Miller), 35 All-Americans and more than 50 future NHL players.

Mason, who served on both the NCAA Ice Hockey Committee and NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee during his tenure as head coach, was MSU's director of athletics from 2002-07 after his retirement from coaching. Mason is a member of the US Hockey Hall of Fame, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame, as well as the Michigan State, Lake Superior State and St. Lawrence University Sports Halls of Fame.

Mason deserves to be immortalized at MSU. He also deserves better than this:

Spartan Tailgate Red Cedar Message Board Screenshot
Spartan Tailgate Red Cedar Message Board Screenshot

For reference, this is what Mason actually looked like.

Getty Images

Man, that bust is rough.

Unfortunately, it follows a trend of not-exactly-faithful recreations of iconic Spartans. Take, for instance, Earvin "Magic" Johnson's likeness that adorns the front porch of Breslin Center. Meant to capture the near-mythological nature and superstardom of perhaps the greatest Michigan State athlete of all-time, the landmark is instead known colloquially as "the Morgan Freeman statue."

Google Maps
Google Maps

But hey, it could be worse! At least it's not as bad as the comically awful Cristiano Ronaldo bust or the infamous statue of Lucille Ball.

10 Realistic Candidates Michigan State Could Target For Next Head Coach

This list isn't like the dozens of others you've seen cobbled together with an amalgamation of next-to-impossible hires, like Nick Saban, and completely unqualified guys, such as Division 2 candidates and coaches who have been at a Group of Five job for five-plus years. This group consists of legitimate names who meet most if not all of the qualifications and needs of MSU's football program and who would probably be interested if the Spartans made an overture.

We've also rated each candidate in terms of the likelihood that they'll be seriously by Michigan State.