Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

OCC loses one of its best Pirates but won’t forget his legacy

John Altobelli, head coach of baseball at Orange Coast College was one of the nine people killed in the helicopter crash in Calabasas Sunday morning. Altobelli’s wife Keri and 13-year-old daughter Alyssa were also killed in the crash.

Coach Altobelli has been leading the Pirates for 27 years and made them a force to be reckoned with on the diamond. Altobelli has earned an abundance of milestones with his career at OCC.

John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and daughter Alyssa, bottom left, were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA on January 26, 2020.
Also in the photo are daughter Alexis Altobelli, bottom right, and son JJ Altobelli. (Photo courtesy Doug Bennett) Photo credit: Doug Bennett

In 2011 Altobelli took the Pirates to a 32-10 record which lead the team to the Southern California Super Regional Finals. He joined the “500-Win Club” back in 2013. OCC shared in a statement that Coach Altobelli reached over 700 wins in 2019 and was named ABCA/Diamond National Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA).

“John meant so much to OCC and baseball,” said Coast Athletic Director Jason Kehler. A coach like this only comes around once in a lifetime. Altobelli didn’t stop coaching once off the field. He often played a key role in mentoring student-athletes in obtaining scholarships to play at the four-year level.

Today, Fullerton College Baseball had a 30 second moment of silence to honor Coach Altobelli and his family before their game against Mt. San Antonino College.

Moment of silence for Coach Altobelli
Coach Chad Baum and Hornets give a moment of silence before game to honor OCC Coach John Altobelli and his family Photo credit: Blake Ward

“John was an amazing coach and father who set first-class standards for people. He was someone who knew how to figure things out,” said Fullerton College Head Baseball Coach Chad Baum.

Baum has known the Altobelli family for 15 years. Altobelli’s son J.J. also worked with Coach Baum for a year as Baum’s Assistant Baseball Coach at CSUF.

“We lost an amazing coach and an amazing person, John was the best coach in the SoCal Conference,” said Baum.

Altobelli leaves behind his son from a previous marriage J.J. as well as 16-year-old daughter Alexis.

The OCC Foundation set up a memorial fund to benefit J.J. and Alexis. A separate GoFundMe page has been set up raising over $130K for the coach’s surviving children.

The other six victims who lost their lives in this crash are Kobe Bryant, his daughter GiGi, Ara Zobayan, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton.