George Steinbrenner, the principal owner of the New York Yankees since 1973 and a track and football student-athlete at Williams in his collegiate days, died after suffering a heart attack Tuesday. He was 80.
Steinbrenner also was a longtime member of the NCAA Leadership Advisory Board, which is a group of citizen leaders that helps communicate and advance the NCAA mission.
He is best known for leading the Yankees to 11 American League pennants and seven World Series championships during his turbulent ownership in which he hired 14 general managers and 12 managers.
Steinbrenner also had ties to collegiate sports. He was hurdler on the track team and a halfback his senior year at Williams in 1952. Steinbrenner was a graduate assistant football coach at Ohio State in 1954-55 while earning a master’s degree in physical education.
In 1955, Steinbrenner served as an assistant football coach at Northwestern before moving onto the football coaching staff at Purdue for the 1956 and 1957 seasons.
His college football coaching career ended when he chose to enter his father’s shipbuilding business, Kinsman Transit, which had been a fixture on the Great Lakes since 1882.
Steinbrenner later became part of a group that purchased the American Shipbuilding Co., and by 1972 the company’s gross sales were more than $100 million annually.
Steinbrenner led a group in purchasing the New York Yankees for $8.8 million in 1973. The value of the team today has been estimated at more than $1 billion.
During his life, Steinbrenner was a longtime supporter of the U.S. Olympic movement on many levels and has held a variety of positions with the United States Olympic Committee. He served as a USOC vice president, represented the private sector on the USOC’s executive board, and chaired a committee charged with improving the USOC’s efficiency and American performance.