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Darren Shrum is Oklahoma State University's inaugural First Cowboy.

Meet OSU's First Cowboy

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Media Contact: Mack Burke | Editorial Coordinator | 405-744-5540 |

Darren Shrum shares his thoughts on his new position

Darren Shrum, Oklahoma State University’s inaugural First Cowboy, hopes to live up to the incredible job First Cowgirl Ann Hargis did for the last 13 years.

Shrum, who played college football for the University of Central Arkansas in the 1980s, won back to back NAIA championships as a center for the Bears. He went to work for Walmart, where he met Dr. Kayse Shrum as she was walking into the Broken Arrow store one day and they became married a few years after.

After six years, he worked for Zebco fishing tackle for a few years before leaving to work as a salesmanager for Abbott Laboratories. In 2007, he left to open Champion Fitness in Muskogee before retiring to open FTD Motors in Coweta in 2010.

OStateTV’s Meghan Robinson recently sat down with Darren to hear a few of his thoughts on becoming the first First Cowboy.

Have you reached out to any of the other male spouses of presidents within the Big 12 or in universities in general? Get any advice from them on how to tackle this role?

I did. I reached out to the first gentleman at Baylor, and we’ve actually texted several times and he gave me a few tips and things to think about.

As far as a personal platform, I think it’s one of those things that’s going to find itself, but I do have an area that I really want to focus on. I’ve already kind of done a few behind the scenes type things, but I think I’ll be ready to announce more details sometime this fall.

What will you do in your role to support Dr. Shrum’s presidency?

Whatever Kayse needs and any time anybody wants me to come to anything, all they have to do is ask. If it’s open on the schedule, I’ll be there, because I really feel like whatever I can do to support her 100 percent and whatever I can do for the university, that’s what I’m here to do. This university is a place that makes you feel good every time you walk on campus. It’s a place you want to call home.

You mentioned your love of cars and “tricking them out.” The Hargises told me they were giving you Clementine (the golf cart Ann Hargis used to get around campus). Do you have plans for her?

I think Kayse is going to carry on with Clementine, the 2.0 version. Hopefully in August when the semester rolls around, you’ll see Clementine with a whole different look. So I’m looking forward to it.

Dr. Shrum becomes OSU's first female president

For more articles from this edition of STATE magazine on the beginning of the Shrum era:

A letter from the President: 

Dr. Kayse Shrum's achievements mark her path to leading the OSU system: 

OSU President Shrum discusses her vision for the university: 

Photo By: Gary Lawson

Story By: Meghan Robinson | STATE Magazine

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