Altobelli scores big

Head coach of the Orange Coast College baseball team John Altobelli addresses his team during the season last spring.

Following Orange Coast College’s baseball team winning its seventh state baseball championship in May, head coach John Altobelli was selected as the American Baseball Coaches Association as the National Coach of the Year.

Altobelli became the fifth coach in the history of California Community College baseball to win four or more state titles and was one of 11 coaches from all levels of collegiate baseball to be named ABCA/ Diamond National Coach of the Year.      

“It’s quite an honor and obviously this is something that is not won individually,” Altobelli said. “It takes a great bunch of players and an exceptional coaching staff for something like this to happen so I definitely share this honor with the 2019 Pirates, who made this such a special season. To be named with some of the coaching greats at this level is a bit overwhelming, and it’s something I will forever appreciate.”

The 2019 Pirates finished the season 39-9-1, winning the Orange Empire Conference for the third year in a row and winning the state title for the seventh time in school history (1956, 1960, 1980, 2009, 2014, 2015).

In a season full of milestones, Altobelli also collected his 700th career win on May 17 with a 10-7 victory over Mt. San Antonio in Game 1 of the Southern California Sectionals, becoming the 16th head coach in California Community College Athletic Association baseball history to reach that milestone.

Fifteen members of this year’s state championship team will move on to play baseball at the four-year level, with several of those competing at the Division I level.

The ABCA, founded in 1945, is the primary professional organization for baseball coaches at the amateur level. It’s over 11,000 members represent all 50 states and 23 countries. Since its initial meeting of 27 college baseball coaches in June 1945, Association membership has broadened to include eight divisions: NCAA Division I, II and III, NAIA, NJCAA, Pacific Association Division, High School and Youth.

Altobelli and the rest of the national coaches of the year will he recognized at the  ABCA Convention, which will be held Jan. 2-5 in Nashville.

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