Former UH baseball player among helicopter crash victims

Orange Coast College John Altobelli

WACO, Texas (KWTX) Former University of Houston baseball player John Altobelli was among the people who died in the helicopter crash that killed NBA legend Kobe Bryant on Sunday.

At the University of Houston, Altobelli was a team captain and starting outfielder. The Cougars advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals, falling just shy of a College World Series appearance during his senior season.

"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," UH Coach Todd Whitting said. "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 baseball coach at Orange Coast College for 27 years.

"He truly personified what it means to be a baseball coach. The passion that he put into the game, but more importantly his athletes, was second to none -- he treated them like family. Our deepest condolences go out to the Altobelli family during this time of tragedy," said OCC Athletic Director Jason Kehler in a statement.