Crum played for two years at UCLA before becoming a graduate assistant coach in 1959. He went to Pierce Junior College in 1961 as head coach and through eight seasons had an 84-40 record. In 1968 Crum went back to UCLA as assistant to John Wooden. Though he was considered the apparent successor to Wooden, Crum instead took the head coaching job at the University of Lousiville. He coached the Louisville Cardinals to 23 NCAA Tournament appearances and two NCAA titles (1980 & 1986). The third-fastest coach to win 600 career games, Crum's achievements will enable him to enter college basketball history as one of the game's all-time successful coaches. His .696 winning percentage ranks him among the top ten on the all-time list. His NCAA Tournament mark is 42-23 and he won 32 of his last 46 games (70 percent) in the post-season event. Crum has served on the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Board of Directors since 1989 and was president of the organization in 1999-2000.
Co-hosts a radio talk show with former University of Kentucky head coach Joe B. Hall.