Basketball Coach Killed in Kobe Bryant Crash Would Have Celebrated Daughter's 4th Birthday Next Week

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Christina Mauser, one of the victims in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, was was planning to celebrate her daughter’s fourth birthday next week, her husband says.

“I’m trying to navigate that,” Matt Mauser told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Tuesday night. “I’d walk in and she would call for mom… and now I walk in, she doesn’t call for her. I think she gets it, she knows we’re grieving.”

He said the past days have been a roller-coaster — some moments better than others.

“The first day was brutal,” he said. “I woke up this morning and I said, ‘I’m OK,’ and then I walked out and I started to cry. And then I saw my kids and I started to cry.”

Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach, also leaves behind a 9-year-old son and an 11-year-old daughter, her husband said.

“My son… he has outbursts… I hold him and I hug him and I kiss him,” Matt Mauser said. “I give him a hug for mom and a hug for me.”

“I just cope, day-by-day,” he added.

Mauser’s oldest daughter played in Bryant’s basketball academy on a team called the Little Mambas.

Bryant had recruited Christina Mauser to help coach another team in the Mamba Academy — the one his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, played on.

“Kobe had seen her skill. Kobe was incredible at recognizing talent,” Matt Mauser said.

His wife’s talent is one of the things that made him fall in love when they first met, he said.

“When we started dating, I have a basketball hoop in my front yard … I thought I was pretty good and I got on the driveway with her and I had never experienced anything like Christina,” Matt Mauser said. “She was quick, strong, powerful, she could dribble in, penetrate, come back and shoot.”

She had a “deadly 3-pointer,” he said.

Wife, mother, coach, teacher

Christina Mauser coached at Harbor Day School, a private K-8 campus in Corona del Mar from 2007 to 2018, the school said in a statement.

“An outstanding basketball coach and player, Mrs. Mauser helped lead Harbor Day’s eighth grade girls’ team to their first ever championship,” the school said. “She was a loving wife, mother, educated and friend to many.”

But of all the great things Mauser encompassed, her husband said it’s the little things he’ll miss the most.

“My wife was not just focused on the big things, my wife was focused on the little things … (her) attention to detail about what kind of foods to give to our kids, how she would research every disease that’s out there … she was relentless and organized and detailed.”

Mauser died in the helicopter crash with eight other people, including Bryant and his daughter, on Sunday morning.

John Altobelli, a community college baseball coach was also killed along with his wife, Keri, and daughter, Alyssa.

“Coach Altobelli was a giant on our campus — a beloved teacher, coach, colleague and friend,” Orange Coast College President Angelica Suarez said in a statement. “This is a tremendous loss for our campus community.”

Payton Chester and her mother Sarah Chester were also passengers on the helicopter and killed in the crash, Payton’s grandmother, Cathy Chester, wrote on Facebook.

“While the world mourns the loss of a dynamic athlete and humanitarian, I mourn the loss of two people just as important…their impact was just as meaningful, their loss will be just as keenly felt, and our hearts are just as broken,” Todd Schmidt, a former principal at Harbor View Elementary School, which Payton once attended, wrote on Facebook.

The pilot of the helicopter, Ara Zobayan, was also killed.

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