John Altobelli, former coach of Jeff McNeil and Aaron Judge, among dead in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash

Longtime baseball coach John Altobelli was among those killed in the helicopter crash that also included Kobe Bryant on Sunday. Altobelli, who coached baseball stars Jeff McNeil and Aaron Judge, is one of nine of the confirmed deceased.

Altobelli’s wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa, as well as Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, were also killed in the crash.


Altobelli coached McNeil and Judge while the two were raw prospects in the Cape Cod League back in 2012. McNeil, the Mets infielder, tweeted that Altobelli was “one of my favorite coaches I have ever played for and one of the main reasons I got a chance to play professional baseball.”

“This isn’t real…,” Judge wrote, stunned by the news about his former coach. The Yankees superstar has credited his summer with the Brewster Whitecaps, Altobelli’s team, as a formative part of his development.

John Altobelli
John Altobelli (Twitter)

“The biggest thing for me was getting a chance to face some of the best college players in the game. Whenever you face better competition, you always rise to the occasion,” Judge said of his run with the Whitecaps. “I enjoyed every bit of that summer.”

The next year, the Yankees’ selected him 32nd overall in the 2013 MLB Draft.

The Whitecaps tweeted a statement:

“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.”

Altobelli was the baseball coach at California’s Orange Coast College. He was preparing for his 24th season with the team.

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