Retired Navy Adm. Charles R. Larson, 77, whose impeccable credentials led to a high-profile stint in the 1990s leading the Naval Academy in the aftermath of the worst cheating scandal in the school's history, died Saturday at his home in Annapolis, Md.

The cause was pneumonia, said a son-in-law, Navy Cmdr. Wesley Huey, adding that the four-star admiral was diagnosed with leukemia two years ago.

A strong contender to succeed Colin Powell as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1993, Adm. Larson was passed over. He seemed on the verge of retirement when he was asked to lead the academy.

He was academy superintendent from 1983 to 1986. When he again took over in 1994, he was the first four-star admiral to serve as superintendent - the highest-ranking officer to oversee the academy.

He was also a graduate, a member of the Class of 1958 that included Sen. John McCain.

His honors included the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, seven awards of the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, three awards of the Legion of Merit, and the Bronze Star Medal.

- Washington Post