Orange Coast College (OCC) baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, his daughter Alyssa Altobelli and wife Keri Altobelli were aboard the helicopter with Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna when it crashed Sunday morning in Calabasas, California, Altobelli’s brother Tony Altobelli told CNN.
Gianna and Alyssa were teammates at the Mamba Academy and were flying from Orange County to Thousand Oaks to attend a game, OCC assistant coach Ron La Ruffa told CNN.
“It was something John routinely did, flying up with Kobe to attend games with his daughter,” La Ruffa said.
OCC Athletic Director Jason Kehler said in a statement Sunday that John Altobelli "meant so much to not only Orange Coast College, but to baseball."
He truly personified what it means to be a baseball coach. The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none -- he treated them like family," Kehler said
Altobelli was honored by the American Baseball Coaches Association in 2019 as an ABCA/Diamond National Coach of the Year.
“We have lost a member of our OCC family, and our hearts are broken,” said OCC President Angelica Suarez. “Coach Altobelli was a giant on our campus -- a beloved teacher, coach, colleague and friend. This is a tremendous loss for our campus community.”