COSTA MESA -- Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli has been named the Orange Empire Conference's Male-Sport Coach of the Year, as voted on by conference administrators at their annual OEC Meeting in Palm Springs.
"It's quite an honor," the 20th-year Pirate head coach said. "It's always nice to be recognized by your peers for the work you've been doing -- especially when they work just as hard. We've had quite a remarkable season and hopefully, it will continue for another couple of weeks."
The Pirates (33-4-1), ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 1 in the country, are hosting one of the 2012 Southern California Super Regional playoffs this weekend. OCC will take on conference rival Cypress on Friday at 11 a.m. at Wendell Pickens Field, before Mt. San Antonio faces Glendale in the second game of the afternoon.
Last week, Altobelli was awarded the OEC Baseball Coach of the Year for the fifth time in his career as he led the Pirates to their first outright conference title since 1987.
In addition to his hard work on the field, Altobelli has been a leader off of it. When Jessica Rees -- granddaughter to longtime physical education/athletics professor Leon Skeie -- passed away after a 10-month battle with brain cancer, Altobelli honored Jessica's spirit by dedicating the 2012 season to her memory. In addition, Coast hosted a "Jessica Rees Day" and helped raise $1,000 to her foundation.
The 2011-12 school year wasn't an easy for "Alto" as he underwent open heart surgery on December 15. Despite the life-changing procedure, it's been business as usual for Altobelli. He wanted to have his surgery in mid-December so he wouldn't miss any of his classes, baseball practices or games. Just 19 days after his surgery, Altobelli was back at practice with his team and both he and the Pirates have been rolling ever since.
A Super Regional victory will send Altobelli and the Pirates to the State Final Four for the fourth time in Altobelli's coaching career and the first since 2009, when OCC last won the state title.
June 7, 2012 SIX Pirates selected in 2012 MLB Draft
May 22, 2012 Carlson named State Player of the Year
May 21, 2012 Pirates drop two straight at Final Four
May 7, 2012 Altobelli named OEC Male Coach of the Year
May 1, 2012 Yuhl, Carlson among standouts in All-OEC honors
April 25, 2012 Pirates end regular season with 5-2 win over Lasers
April 24, 2012 Pirates clinch conference title with 7-2 win over Lasers
April 21, 2012 Pirates edged by Tigers in 12 innings
April 19, 2012 Pirates earn share of OEC title with win over Tigers
April 17, 2012 Pirates hold off Gauchos for 7-6 win
April 14, 2012 Pirates clobber Rustlers, 21-1
April 12, 2012 Pirates' Brennan outduels Fullerton's Lucas in 1-0 win
April 11, 2012 Coast escpaes Fullerton with 8-7 win
March 30, 2012 Winning streak ends as Pirates fall to Dons, 7-6
March 27, 2012 Pirates blank Gauchos, 13-0
March 24, 2012 Pirates keep winning after 5-3 victory over Gauchos
March 22, 2012 Rademacher's late blast lifts Pirates past Chargers
March 21, 2012 Yuhl goes the distance as Pirates double-up Chargers, 4-2
March 15, 2012 Brennan leads Pirates past Lasers, 3-1
March 14, 2012 Team effort leads the way as Pirates roll past Tigers, 10-4
March 12, 2012 Carlson, Yuhl lead Pirates past Rustlers
March 8, 2012 Pirates stunned by Hornets, 5-3
March 6, 2012 Late rally lifts Pirates over Dons
March 2, 2012 Pirates open OEC with 12-4 win over Chargers
February 25, 2012 Cougars snap OCC's win streak
February 24, 2012 Coast routs Southwestern, 13-1
February 23, 2012 Pirates keep rolling after 9-1 win over Canyons
February 20, 2012 Pirates earn third straight sweep; improve to 10-0-1
February 14, 2012 Pirates remain unbeaten with 3-2 win over Palomar
February 10, 2012 Carlson, Powell propel Pirates past Vikings
February 8, 2012 Late error helps Pirates slip away with win over Vikings
February 6, 2012 Pirates make it a clean sweep over Cuesta
February 3, 2012 Pirates open season with 6-3 win over Cuesta