Chester Pittman, Oklahoma State's first Black football player, dies at 83
Chester Pittman, the first Black football player at Oklahoma State, has died.
He was 83.
Pittman arrived in Stillwater in the fall of 1957. He was one of four Black football players in the freshman class, but after the fall semester, the rest failed to make their grades and left campus.
Pittman became a varsity starter as a sophomore in 1958 and a varsity letter winner in 1959.
During a 2009 interview with The Oklahoman, Pittman said he was proud to have been a Cowboy. He even purchased an OSU football jersey with his number on it, No. 23.
"If given the opportunity, I think you have to take advantage of it," he said of getting a football scholarship to OSU. "I had the opportunity to get into a situation I wouldn't have been able to otherwise."
Pittman was part of the first integrated football team at Wewoka High School in 1956. He and his teammates from Wewoka Douglass High School, the all-Black school, were combined with the football team at Wewoka High, and Pittman was a star. He scored 22 touchdowns as a senior, including 14 rushing, four passing and four on kickoff returns.
He committed to the Cowboys and assistant coach Harry Buffington, and even though other recruiters came calling, Pittman stuck with OSU.
"I decided early on that Oklahoma State would be the school,” Pittman said, "and I stuck to it.”
Pittman graduated from OSU with a bachelor's in education, then went to work as a teacher in Kansas City, Kan. He taught physical education and coached all sorts of sports, but his track teams at Sumner High School won back-to-back state titles in the late 1960s.
Pittman, who earned his master's degree from Kansas State, eventually became an administrator before retiring.
He was honored with the OSU Black Alumni Association's Trailblazer Award in 2010.
Funeral services for Pittman will be at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Stout-Phillips Funeral Home in Wewoka. Interment will follow at Westwood Cemetery.