HomeObituariesCoach John Altobelli, Wife, Daughter Mourned By Orange County

Coach John Altobelli, Wife, Daughter Mourned By Orange County


This undated photo released by Orange Coast College shows its head baseball coach John Altobelli. The Altobelli family has confirmed that John Altobelli, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa were among those killed in the helicopter crash with Kobe Bryant. (OCC College Photo via AP)NEWPORT BEACH, CA — Orange Coast College, friends and family are mourning the deaths of baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa in Sunday’s helicopter crash, OCC said on its website. The three are survived by an adult son, J.J., a scout for the Boston Red Sox, and a daughter, Lexi.The members of the Altobelli family died in the Calabasas crash along with basketball great Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Gianna and Alyssa were teammates at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks. According to a report from, Bryant and Altobelli were friends. With their daughters being teammates on a Black Mamba travel basketball team, the families would frequently ride on Bryant’s helicopter to games and birthday parties. On Sunday, they were headed to Bryant’s Mamba Cup tournament. The group took off in a Sikorsky helicopter Sunday morning from Orange County’s John Wayne Airport, according to multiple media reports. John Altobelli’s brother, Tony, the sports information director for OCC’s baseball program, arrived at Wendell Pickens Field on Sunday — a place that has been called “The House That Alto Built” —and joined others there in mourning the loss. Tony Altobelli spoke to The Athletic about his brother, saying: “(John) is going to be missed, not just at this campus but statewide at this level, and all the way through collegiate baseball.” “It’s hard to put into words what this loss means to the college and the athletics department,” OCC Athletic Director Jason Kehler said. “John was a tremendous coach and an even better friend. Beyond that, he was an amazing mentor to all of the students and athletes that he taught and coached. He treated them all like family, and his impact will live on forever.”
Coach “Alto,” as players and co-workers called him, was the winningest coach in Orange Coastal College baseball history. His 28th season as head coach would have started this week, Kehler said. Instead, the team and supporters gathered at the campus baseball field to mourn their coach, mentor and friend.”We have lost a member of our OCC family, and our hearts are broken,” OCC President Angelica Suarez said. “Coach Altobelli was a giant on our campus — a beloved teacher, coach, colleague and friend. This is a tremendous loss for our campus community.”
OCC baseball player Justin Brodt did his best to describe the loss of his coach and friend to the OC Register on Sunday while at the field. “He cared. He cared about every single player in the program. Everyone in the program was his family,” Brodt told the Register. “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 a great guy.” He guided the OCC Pirates to the CCCAA State Championship in 2019, becoming the fifth coach in the history of California Community College baseball to win four or more state championships. Altobelli “led the Pirates to numerous conference and state championship titles, notching more than 700 wins during his career and four state championships,” according to the OCC statement, which said he “was a mentor to his players, often playing a key role in positioning student athletes to obtain scholarships to play at the four-year level.”
Altobelli earned a bachelor of science degree in physical education from the University of Houston in 1987. A longtime Newport Beach resident, he graduated from Newport Harbor High School and, later, from Golden West College. He transferred to the University of Houston and took the Cougars to the NCAA Regional Finals. He earned his master’s degree in education from Azusa Pacific University in 1988. Altobelli played one year of professional baseball for the Miami Marlins of the Florida State League.
The Orange Coast College Foundation has established an Altobelli Family Memorial. Donations may be directed to the OCC Foundation website or sent by mail to: Orange Coast College Foundation
Altobelli Family Memorial Fund
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