NEW YORK (AP) — William C. Steinman, the longtime sports information director of Columbia University, has died. He was 76.

Steinman, a member of Columbia University's Athletics Hall of Fame, died Wednesday night at Mount Sinai Morningside, the university said Thursday. He had used a wheelchair in recent years following a series of illnesses.

“Bill’s passion for Columbia was second to none,” Athletic Director Peter Pilling said. "Bill touched the lives of so many Columbians — from student-athletes and staff members to the countless members of his student staff that he mentored, many of whom remain involved with our athletics program."

Steinman was born Dec. 31, 1944, and graduated from Hofstra. Nicknamed “Stats,” he was head statistician of the American Basketball Association's New York Nets and was hired by Columbia in 1970 in the start of a four-decade career.

He spent 14 years as assistant to sports information director Kevin DeMarrais, then took over as department head in 1984 during the time Columbia launched a women's athletic consortium with Barnard.

Among the athletes he promoted were Major League Baseball player Gene Larkin; NFL player Marcellus Wiley; Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Cristina Teuscher; Columbia baseball pitcher Rolando Acosta, currently presiding judge of the New York State Supreme Court's appellate division for the first department in Manhattan; and Columbia rower George Yancopoulos, president of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.

His tenure spanned four athletic directors, eight head football coaches and eight men’s basketball coaches.

“He was a consummate professional that you could always depend on,” former athletic director M. Dianne Murphy said. “He was truly a gentle and kind soul, and a wonderful person to engage in conversation. I admired him so much for doing everything behind the scenes in such an unassuming and quiet way."

Steinman received a lifetime achievement award from the College Sports Information Directors of America in 2010. He was indicted into Columbia's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.

His brother Jim, the Grammy-winning composer who wrote Meat Loaf’s chart-topping “Bat Out of Hell” debut album, died in April.