October 17, 2023 – Bill Justus, an All-American guard on Vol basketball teams of 1966-69, passed away early Tuesday morning at the age of 76 at his home in Bellemeade in the Nashville area.
Before attending UT, Justus graduated from Fulton High School in Knoxville. There, he was named all-state in football (1964) and basketball (1964 and 65). He also received All-America honorable mention plaudits for football in 1964 and was All-America in basketball in 1965.
In 1965, Justus signed a football scholarship with the University of Tennessee. There, he played for the freshman football team before his college athletic career then turned toward basketball.
Justus helped lead his team to the SEC championship in 1966-67. He was a three-year starter for the Vols and served as captain his senior year. He was named first team All-SEC in both 1967-68 and 1968-69, claiming NCAA Basketball Academic All-America status the former year.
In his senior year, 1968-69, Justus was selected as a First Team All-American by the Helms Foundation. He was the NCAA free-throw shooting champion that year, making 133 of 147 attempts for a 90.5 percentage. He was chosen to play in the East-West College All-Star Game, while Tennessee was invited to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) and earned a third-place finish.
Known for his free-throw accuracy, Justus made 18 straight free throws in the NIT game versus Ohio, setting the school record by making 22 of 23 attempts. He ended his career second in Tennessee history with an .8492 percentage (338-of-398). He finished his career scoring 1,236 points and averaging 15.1 points per game.
In 1969, Justus was selected in the 10th round of the NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers and also by Denver in the ABA Draft. The Dallas Cowboys also picked him in the 15th round of the NFL Draft.
After college, he traveled extensively teaching ball-handling and shooting skills for Converse at coaches’ clinics and basketball camps throughout the United States. He also did color commentary for the Vol TV and Radio Networks
Justus was inducted into the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2005. Justus was named an SEC Legend in 2006. After the age of 30, Justus began an amateur tennis career and won numerous USTA amateur tennis championships.
Funeral arrangements are pending.