SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. - Hall of Fame center Mel Hein, an All-Pro eight straight years with the New York Giants, has died after a long bout with stomach cancer, his family said yesterday. He was 82.
Hein died Friday evening at his home. A private memorial service is scheduled for Feb. 9.
Hein, a native of Burlington and an All-American at Washington State, played for the Giants from 1931-45 and did not miss a game.
Hein was a member of the Giants' 1934 and 1938 title teams. In 1938, he was selected as the league's first Most Valuable Player. He was a charter member of the Hall of Fame.
"Mel was one of the greatest football players who ever lived," Al Davis, Los Angeles Raider owner, told the San Clemente Daily Sun-Post the day before Hein's death.
After retiring from the Giants, Hein coached four years at Union College, then returned to the pro ranks as a coach with the Los Angeles Dons. He spent 15 years as a coach at USC.
Davis appointed him the American Football League's supervisor of officials in 1966. Hein continued to serve in the position with the American Football Conference when the AFL and the NFL merged.
Hein is survived by his wife, Florence; a son, Mel Jr.; daughter, Sharon, and four grandchildren.