WACO, Texas — Sunday’s helicopter crash in California had far-reaching impacts that stretched over 14-hundred miles right here to Central Texas.
Many of the Baylor Lady Bears, like senior Lauren Cox, grew up idolizing Lakers Star Kobe Bryant who passed away in the crash.
“A lot of us looked up to him growing up,” she said. “If you’re a basketball player you know who he is you know what he’s done growing up, so it just didn’t seem real.”
His competitiveness spanned sports and UMHB Head Coach Pete Fredenburg was saddened to hear about the loss of an icon like Kobe.
“He was such an icon,” he said. “Not only was he a great basketball player but he was a great person. I mean he gave so much and just being the father that he was. we really lost a bright star in my mind.”
But Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were two of the nine who perished in the crash. Former University of Houston baseball player John Altobelli was killed along with his wife and his daughter.
Baylor assistant baseball coach Mitch Karraker played with Altobelli’s son J.J. at the University of Oregon and was stunned to hear the news on Sunday.
“First you hear about Kobe and that’s of course tragic and then you hear it’s someone you know and you’re close to, I was shell-shocked for sure,” he said. “I found out in the middle of our scrimmage and I feel like my mind just went blank for a couple of innings.”
Baylor Head Baseball Coach, Steve Rodriguez said times like these really hit close to home and remind you of what is important.
“It makes you really understand what’s important,” he said, “Because we spend so much time other people’s kids, as coaches, It really kind of brings into perspective the things you’ve got to cherish the most, family and friends.”
Baylor Baseball Assistants Mitch Karraker, Mike Taylor and Head coach Steve Rodriguez react to the Loss of John Altobelli:
RAW: Lady Bears React to Kobe Bryant’s Death