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Pitt memories: Julius Pegues – Pitt Panthers #H2P

Julius Pegues, a product of the Tulsa (Oklahoma) Public Schools and one of the proudest alumni of Booker T. Washington High School, parlayed his talent for basketball into an engineering degree from the University of Pittsburgh and a career in aviation and space industry.

Julius Pegues

Pegues was a standout on Pitt’s freshman team in 1954-55 before earning a scholarship and starring in the program during his final three seasons. The 6-foot-4 forward started all 77 games of his career and finished with 1,050 points and 377 rebounds while helping the Panthers to 49 wins and two NCAA Tournament appearances. As a senior, Pegues averaged 17.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. in helping lead the team to an 18-7 mark and the program’s third NCAA Tournament appearance.

Pegues was selected by the St. Louis Hawks as the 31st overall pick in the 1958 NBA Draft, but was unable to pursue a professional basketball career due to a five-year post-graduate commitment required by the United States Air Force ROTC.

As much as Pegues accomplished during his athletic career at Pitt, he likely accomplished more in his professional career. Pegues graduated from Pitt with a degree in mechanical engineering and studied meteorology at Saint Louis University. He became a weather forecaster in the Air Force before returning to Tulsa to work for the Douglas Aircraft Company and American Airlines, and eventually as a consultant for the Federal Aviation Administration.

His commitment to human rights, human relations and equal educational opportunity led to his involvement throughout the community. He has served on the boards of the Tulsa NAACP chapter, Metropolitan Tulsa Urban League, Morton Comprehensive Health Services, Family & Children’s Services, W.L. Hutcherson Family YMCA, Tulsa Housing Authority and Tulsa Board of Education Human Relations Committee.

“Julius Pegues’ impact on the game of basketball here at the University of Pittsburgh was enormous. The life he lived and the impact he made on the Tulsa community outside of basketball was even more impressive. He was a pioneer for the black community and an undisputed The more I have learned about his impact on the world, the more impressed I am with the life and legacy of Julius Pegues.

Jeff ChapelPitt men’s basketball head coach

Pegues remained a prominent figure in Tulsa until his passing in March 2022 and was best known for his work commemorating the 1921 Tulsa Massacre and the history and culture of Black Tulsans through the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation, which hosts an annual dinner is hosted for Tulsans and sponsors a national symposium on reconciliation and understanding on the anniversary of the massacre.