MORRISTOWN — Longtime New Jersey official Robert Mulcahy, who served as athletics director for the state's flagship university and held many high-ranking government posts during his decades of service, has died.

Mulcahy's family announced his death Tuesday, saying he had passed away Monday after a long illness. He was 85.

Mulcahy served as athletic director for 11 years at Rutgers University and was inducted into the school's Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017.

He also served as chief of staff to Gov. Brendan Byrne and led the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.

Coming off a winless season the year before his arrival, Mulcahy worked steadfastly to improve conditions for the football program. His hire of coach Greg Schiano led to a resurgence in the program, which snapped a nearly 30-year postseason drought in 2005.

"In Bob's passing, Rutgers and New Jersey lost one of its truly faithful servants," Schiano said in a written statement. "Personally, I lost a mentor, a role model, and a true friend. The partnership we had at Rutgers was uncommon and something we both valued greatly."

LOOK: 20 Fascinating Photos From the First Modern Olympic Games in 1896

To celebrate the history of international sports cooperation, Stacker took a look back at that groundbreaking event in Athens, when the modern Olympics were born in 1896. Keep reading to learn more about the athletes, spectators, and sports at that iconic event.

More From New Jersey 101.5 FM