HOUSTON – John Altobelli, a former University of Houston letterwinner and assistant coach, is among the nine people, including NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, that was killed in a helicopter crash Sunday morning in southern California.
Altobelli’s wife and his daughter were also killed in the crash, according to the Orange Cast College.
“I am devastated to hear the tragic news that one of our former players and dear friend of mine, John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and his daughter, Alyssa, have passed,” University of Houston head baseball coach Todd Whitting said in a release. “John was a huge supporter of the Cougars and numerous players from Orange Coast College have played for us through the years.”
Altobelli was a two-year letterwinner for the Cougars from 1984 to 1985 and served as an assistant coach in 1987, according to the University of Houston. That year, he graduated from Houston with a degree in physical education.
Whitting met with the media on Monday afternoon to talk about his friendship with Altobelli in depth.
“John was a good friend of mine and my family. Known him 25 years. We’ve had 5 of his players here at UH,” said Whitting. “Really sad day for the program and me personally and college baseball in general lost a good one yesterday.”
“He was one of those people guys. Everybody loved him. That timeframe he played here is still a tight group. It’s hard on a lot of people,” added Whitting.