"Bob was a warm and outgoing man. He had a charm about him, and he had the ability at making someone feel like they were the only person in the room," he said. "He was a brilliant man and had a good team who would go to the limits for him. He was a professional in the finest sense of the word."
He retired as dean of admissions in 1985.
Admiral McNitt never lost his love of sailing and racing.
"While I was in the Navy I raced whenever I could," he told The Baltimore Sun in a 2001 article. "If I was new somewhere, I would head over to the local yacht club and see if anyone needed a crew that weekend."
He was commodore of the U.S. Naval Sailing Association and president of the U.S. Naval Foundation. He was also elected to the Intercollegiate Yacht Racing Association of North America Hall of Fame.
Admiral McNitt wrote "Sailing at the U.S. Naval Academy," which was published in 1996, and was co-author with Paul Stillwell of "The Reminiscences of Rear Admiral Robert W. McNitt,U.S. Navy," which was published in 2002.
He explained in the interview with The Sun the enduring value of the academy's three-week summer sailing program, when several hundred midshipman head off to the Atlantic.
"This is an excellent way to bring people along," he said. "This is an opportunity to learn that everybody on the boat matters, that it's important to look out for one another, to develop a sea sense, to feel humble in the faces of the forces around them."
His wife of 34 years, the former Barbara MacMurray, died in 1971. His second wife, the former Patricia Hicks Miller, died this year after 38 years of marriage.
Services for Admiral McNitt will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis.
Surviving are three sons, James A. McNitt and Douglas W. McNitt, both of Annapolis, and Robert W. McNitt of Johnson City, Tenn.; a daughter, Katherine McNitt Jensen of St. Paul, Minn; a stepson, Peter Hicks Miller of Washington; three stepdaughters, Patricia Anne Miller of Sunnyvale, Calif., Lane Miller of Philadelphia and Hope Miller Heffelfinger of Edina, Minn.; three brothers, James D. McNitt of Naples, Fla., Edward W. McNitt of Portsmouth, N.H., and Douglas McNitt of Chagrin Falls, Ohio; and 10 grandchildren.