John Altobelli Killed in Helicopter Crash
John Altobelli, the head baseball coach for Orange Coast College has died in a helicopter crash on Sunday. Also killed in the crash was his wife Keri and their 13-year-old daughter Alyssa. Altobelli was 56 years old.
Also killed in the crash was NBA legend Kobe Bryant, 41 and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. The pilot and three other souls were also lost in the crash.
Orange Coast Career
John Altobelli became the head coach at Orange Coast College in July of 1992. Altobelli has a career record of 705-478-4. He coached the Pirates to four CCCAA championships in 2009, 2014, 2015, & 2019. Altobelli is also a two-time CCCAA coach of the year winning in 2009 and 2014. Altobelli also was named the coach of the year in 2019 by the American Baseball Coaches Association.
Sunday evening the field at OCC was turned into a memorial. Several players, family friends gathered to mourn “Coach Alto.” Flowers and baseball caps were covering home plate. Nate Johnson, who is the associate head coach addressed the crowd of around 150 people.
“If you’re out here and you played for him, or you’re parents, you know: Alto was one of the best men I’ve ever met,” said Johnson. Johnson called John Altobelli his own Kobe of the junior college baseball world.
Sophomore first baseman Justin Brodt said Coach Alto could be tough on his players. But you could never question how much he cared for the baseball program which he considered family. “He treated every player like his own son. He wanted the best for everybody involved. That’s what made him such a successful coach and such a great guy.”
It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of Orange Coast College head baseball coach John Altobelli. He was a coach, a colleague, a mentor and a friend at OCC for 27 years.
— Orange Coast College (@orangecoast) January 26, 2020
Major League Influence
John Altobelli also managed the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League from 2012-2014. He coached future major league star players such as Jeff McNeil of the New York Mets and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.
We are heartbroken and shocked to learn that our former head coach, John Altobelli along with his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa passed away this morning in the helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.
— Brewster Whitecaps (@WhitecapsCCBL) January 26, 2020
McNeil is quoted by ESPN of the influence Altobelli had on him. “He’s one of the main reasons I’m still playing professional baseball,” McNeil said.
Tough to hear the news of coach Altobelli. One of my favorite coaches I have ever played for and one of the main reasons I got a chance to play professional baseball. Both the baseball and basketball world lost a great one today https://t.co/efAyf3s7Hj
— Jeff McNeil (@JeffMcNeil805) January 26, 2020
Aaron Judge was just numb and could not believe this was real.
This isn’t real…
— Aaron Judge (@TheJudge44) January 26, 2020
John Altobelli is survived by his son J.J. and daughter Lexi. J.J. is currently a scout for the Boston Red Sox.