Orange Coast's Altobelli named ABCA National Coach of the Year

Orange Coast John Altobelli helped lead the Pirates to the 2019 CCCAA Baseball Championship. (Courtesy OCC Athletics)
Orange Coast John Altobelli helped lead the Pirates to the 2019 CCCAA Baseball Championship. (Courtesy OCC Athletics)

COSTA MESA - The American Baseball Coaches Association selected Orange Coast College head coach John Altobelli as the ABCA/Diamond National Coach of the Year after guiding the Pirates to the 2019 state championship in May.

Altobelli, who became just the fifth coach in the history of California Community College baseball to win four our more state titles (Wally Kincaid 6, Scott Pickler 5, Dennis Rogers, Len Bourdet 4), was one of 11 coaches from all levels of collegiate baseball to be named the 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 career win No. 700 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 CCCAA 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. Its 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 this year's ABCA Convention, which will be held Jan. 2-5 in Nashville, TN.

2019 ABCA/Diamond National Coaches of the Year
NCAA Div. I: Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt (TN)
NCAA Div. II: Joe Urso, Tampa (FL)
NCAA Div. III: Scott Laverty, Champan (CA)
NAIA: Billy Berry, Tennessee Wesleyan
NJCAA Div. I: Anthony Gilich, Central Arizona
NJCAA Div. II: Raydon Leaton, Northern Oklahoma-Enid
NJCAA Div. III: Keith Gorman, Cumberland County (NJ)
Pacific Assoc. Division: John Altobelli, Orange Coast (CA)
High School Div. I: Chan Brown, Parkview (GA)
High School Div. II: Ricky Griffin, Argyle (TX)
High School Div. III: Aaron Frey, Sabetha (KS)

(Courtesy Orange Coast College Athletics)