Mel Hein Jr., a pole vaulter at USC who set the world indoor record of 16 feet, 5 3/4 inches in 1965 at the Cow Palace in San Francisco and went on to win two City Section girls’ track championships and one boys’ title as coach at Woodland Hills Taft, died Wednesday in Reno after a brain infection, according to his son, Gary. He was 79.

Hein was an assistant coach for Taft’s 1986 state championship team led by future 400-meter Olympic champion Quincy Watts, who called Hein “a father figure.”

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