Former Wyoming Football Star Gary Crum Runs For State Senate

Gary Crum, a former University of Wyoming football player who also played in the NFL is running for a seat in the state Senate representing Albany County. His son Frank also played at UW and was just picked up by the Denver Broncos.

Leo Wolfson

May 08, 20246 min read

Gary Crum
Gary Crum (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Laramie resident Gary Crum knows a thing or two about tackling tough challenges.

The former University of Wyoming football star and NFL offensive lineman is now lining up to get into a slightly less physical but fiercely competitive non-contact sport — Wyoming politics.

Crum has announced his campaign to run as a Republican for the Wyoming Senate to replace Sen. Dan Furphy, R-Laramie, who recently announced he’s stepping down from the Legislature, having served since 2017. Crum said he coordinated with Furphy in his decision to run.

Crum has been a major face for Laramie economic development nearly his whole adult life as a leading figure in the local banking community.

“It’s now time for me to serve in a different way, but yet still be a strong supporter of Laramie, Albany County and the state,” he said.

Who’s Crum?

Crum grew up in Rawlins, where he was a football and track athlete in high school. He later went on to play football on an athletic scholarship at the University of Wyoming under three head coaches, in addition to a fourth head coach who had originally recruited him.

Crum calls that experience “a great leadership course to see how it’s done by different guys in different ways, all of them really good guys.”

He was named team captain and first team All-Conference during his time playing football at UW, and also had a cup of coffee in the NFL as well, drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 1982.

Crum went on to officiate basketball and NCAA Division I football for more than 30 years, including seven bowl games. He also coached football at Montana State University, where he won a national championship in 1984.

Crum, now retired, worked in the banking industry for more than 35 years. He is the co-founder and former chairman and chief executive officer for Western States Bank, based in Laramie.

His banking and economic development background, Crum said, gives him confidence he can make the jump straight to the Senate.

“I feel I’m very, very prepared for this,” he said. “This is a seat that’s open and has an opportunity and I feel I’m prepared to be there.”

Gary Crum
Gary Crum (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The Issues

Crum said his primary focus if elected into office will be rural health care and education.

“If we don’t have good education and health care in this state, we have nothing,” Crum said. “We need to be strong strong supporters of education, make sure we have the resources the professionals need to deliver a great quality education and likewise health care.”

He also wants to support the state’s agriculture industry.

“They’re the backbone of the state,” he said. “Our tradition is here in the ag community and we need to make sure we’re supporting those guys.”

Although Crum wouldn’t represent the UW campus if elected as his Senate District 10 encompasses rural Albany County, he still has a keen interest in the school.

UW has become a target in recent legislative sessions for its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) programming, which Gov. Mark Gordon removed specifically allocated funding for this spring.

Crum said he sees both sides of the DEI debate in that all students, no matter their political views or background, should have an opportunity to get a quality education and experience at the university.

“But at the same time, it doesn’t mean that we put one group of kids in front of another group at the detriment of somebody else,” he said. “We need to make sure there’s a really, really good balance there of what’s taking place. We need to respect everybody’s rights.”

On energy, Crum said he supports Wyoming’s traditional fossil fuels. He also wants to see the state pursue alternative energies like uranium, wind, solar and hydroelectricity, but with the caveat that they are not publicly funded in any way.

“I really believe it should be privately funded to all extents possible,” he said.

The Challenge Ahead

Crum said he won’t seek an endorsement from the Wyoming Caucus or farther right Wyoming Freedom Caucus in the upcoming election.

“What I’m seeking is the support of the folks of Albany County and District 10,” he said. “If it aligns with the Freedom Caucus, that’s fantastic, and if it doesn’t then we’re going to have to take a look at it.”

The Legislature has been marked by Republican infighting over the last few years. Crum said he believes in engaging vigorous debate while not losing any respect for one’s opponent.

“Frankly, I think there’s a lot of bullying that goes on, and bullying in any other circumstance in a school would get you expelled,” Crum said. “But for some reason that’s acceptable in the legislative process and it’s not acceptable.”

He believes it’s possible to find solutions and compromises without capitulating one’s values, mentioning the example of retaining public access to a certain parcel through coordination with a private landowner.

“It’s about building relationships, and relationships mean not everything gets to go my way all of the time,” he said. “We may vote differently but we don’t need to be calling each other names and putting each other down just because somebody voted a different way. We need to respect that.”

The District

Furphy served two terms in the state House before jumping to the Senate in 2020.

Crum doesn’t have any opponents to officially announce yet.

Democratic candidates were competitive in the last three elections in SD 10, but Republicans still won out.

Crum’s father also played football at UW and in the NFL, and his son, Frank Crum, recently finished out his playing career at the school last season. Frank Crum recently signed a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity that he has,” Crum said. “I’m sure Frank will make the best of it.”

Leo Wolfson can be reached at

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter