COSTA MESA, Calif. — John Altobelli, a highly successful baseball coach at Orange Coast College, was among the victims of the helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant on Sunday morning. Altobelli died alongside his wife, Keri, and his 13-year-old daughter, Alyssa, the family confirmed to ESPN.
The three were traveling with Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, to a youth basketball game when the helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California. Alyssa and Gianna, who is also 13, were teammates. Altobelli, 56, coached at OCC for 27 years, leading the Pirates to four state titles and more than 700 wins.
“He kind of gets overshadowed by Kobe a little bit,” OCC associate baseball coach Nate Johnson said, “but he was his own Kobe of the junior college baseball world.”
Johnson, 30, will now take over for Altobelli as head baseball coach. Hours after word spread of Altobelli’s passing, nearly 300 players and coaches from every phase of the program’s history gathered at the baseball field to honor the legendary coach and his family, placing flowers atop home plate. Altobelli has another daughter, Lexi, who is a junior in high school, and a son, J.J., who is a scout for the Boston Red…