John Altobelli, longtime college baseball coach with New England ties, among nine dead in LA helicopter crash

Orange Coast College

By Alex Barth,

The baseball world is in mourning following the death of Orange Coast College head coach John Altobelli Sunday. Altobelli, along with his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, were among the nine killed in the helicopter crash in southern California that also claimed the life of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. The group was on their way to a youth basketball event.

Altobelli took over as the head coach at OCC in 1993. He amassed a 705-478-4 record with the Pirates, including four state championships (2009. 2014, 2015, 2019). In 2019, he was honored by the American Baseball Coaches Association as the ABCA/Diamond National Coach of the Year. 

Altobelli also spent three seasons as the field manager for the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball league from 2012 to 2014. During that time, his players included Aaron Judge, Jeff McNeil, and Ryon Healy. 

Altobelli played college baseball at the University of Houston, where he still holds a number of records. He got into coaching after spending one year playing in the minor leagues in 1985. His son J.J. also spent time in the minors, and currently works as a scout for the Boston Red Sox.

Altobelli is survived by his son J.J. and daughter Alexis. The Orange Coast College Foundation has established an Altobelli Family Memorial. Donations may be directed here.

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Hate mail? Let him hear it on Twitter @RealAlexBarth