Former Cape League coach among those killed in helicopter crash

As the world continues to mourn the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, a former Brewster Whitecaps coach was among one of the nine victims killed in Sunday’s helicopter crash north of Los Angeles.

The crash happened at around 9:45 a.m. PT killing all nine people on board.

John Altobelli, a coach for Orange Coast College, along with his wife and daughter were among those killed in the crash.

Altobelli worked as the head coach for the Brewster Whitecaps in the Cape League from 2012-2014.

Former colleagues say Altobelli was a genuine guy and a family man.

“You see that kind of news and you realize how fortunate you really are and you never know what’s going to happen,” said Chuck Paiva, General Manager for the Newport Gulls. “He was a class act. A great character guy.”

Paiva adding that Altobelli was well-respected in the baseball world.

“He was a baseball icon that everybody respected in the baseball world and the college coaches are mourning out there in California and all over the country I’m sure,” he said.

Brendan Glasheen worked as the play-by-play announcer for the Whitecaps in 2013 where he had a close working relationship with Altobelli.

“The White Caps didn’t have their best season that year in terms of wins and losses, but John was always very good with his time and very kind,” Glasheen said. “It was shocking.”

Glasheen said it was never about winning or losing for Altobelli. He said it was all about developing college athletes, and some of his former players went on to the MLB.

“He was the same after a win as he was after a loss. Very open, loved his players, was a player’s coach,” he said.

The Brewster Whitecaps also responding to Altobelli’s death.

“We are heartbroken and shocked to learn that our former head coach, John Altobelli along with his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa passed away this morning in the helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna,” the team wrote on Twitter. “John was our head coach in 2012-14, and his son JJ played for us too. JJ and his other daughter Alexis survive them. Our heartfelt condolences to his family.”