Tom Crowell led Springbrook to three consecutive Maryland 4A boys’ basketball championships from 2008-10. No other Maryland school has accomplished the feat. (Preston Keres/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

Tom Crowell is retiring from coaching basketball after 36 years in Montgomery County, the last nine of which were spent at the helm for the Springbrook boys’ team. Crowell shared the news with his team Saturday, several months after leading the Blue Devils to a 24-3 mark and an appearance in the Maryland 4A state semifinals.

“I’ve been a retired teacher for a while and now I’m retiring from coaching basketball,” the 66-year-old Crowell said in a Sunday phone interview. “It was a hard decision but it’s the right time. I’ve been thinking about it since midway through last year, I stayed away from basketball all summer and I’m at peace with it. It’s just time.”

After starting his basketball coaching career as an assistant at Springbrook in 1978, Crowell returned in 2005 as head coach after stints at Wheaton, Northwest and Sherwood. In 2007, the Blue Devils began a win streak that spanned 41 games and yielded two straight 4A state titles. After falling to Thomas Stone in December 2009, Crowell and Springbrook put together 25 victories in a row en route to becoming the first and only school to win three consecutive 4A championships. In nine years leading the Blue Devils, Crowell compiled a record of 193-33 and was named All-Met Coach of the Year in 2009.

“I have a big-time respect for him as a coach and a mentor,” said St. Andrew’s boys’ basketball Coach Kevin Jones, who played for Crowell at Northwest. “I still talk to him at least two times a week during the season, bouncing ideas off of him, watching film with him. He’s a great manager of talent and one of the best coaches all time in the state at any level.”

The last 30 years have yielded few breaks for Crowell, who served as an assistant football coach at Springbrook, Sherwood, St. John’s and Wheaton and as head coach for one season at Blair. When Bob Milloy left Sherwood to take the job at Good Counsel in 2001, Crowell took over the team for four years, during which he led the Warriors to the 4A state title game in 2002. He then rejoined Milloy at Good Counsel in 2004 as an assistant and will continue in his role as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator this fall.

Springbrook Coach Tom Crowell, pictured with Jarid Watson during a 2011 playoff game, is revered by former players for his abilities as a mentor. (Doug Kapustin/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST)

“I’ve done basketball and football because I just love coaching,” Crowell said. “We didn’t always win every game, but we were always in it and for that I want to thank every one of my players and my assistants because they’re the reason we were able to compete and win games.”