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Sherwood gym bears name of beloved teacher and coach –

by Terri Hogan

Senior Staff Writer

Sherwood High School’s gym is officially the Warren G. Crutchfield Gymnasium, honoring the legacy of the longtime coach, teacher, mentor and friend to countless young people.

“Warren Crutchfield was a very important and influential coach and member of the Sherwood community,” said the school’s acting principal, Tim Britton. “He was loved by his players and respected by his coaching peers. His influence and legacy as a teacher and coach goes well beyond the court or track. He touched so many lives in a positive way.”

Crutchfield’s wife Brenda and daughters Nicole and La Shane thanked Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and the Sherwood community for the honor.

“As a family, we are overjoyed with this adulation,” La Shane Crutchfield said. “Our family legacy will be continued by sharing with future generations. To end with this quote, ‘To teach is great, but to inspire is divine.’”

Sherwood alumnus Carter Willson was a part of the effort to get the gym named in Crutchfied’s memory.

“He inspired everyone around him to be as good as you can be,” Willson said. “It did not matter who you were. From the best athlete in the school, to the kid that had very little skills, or the best student in school, or the kid that was not a very good student. He always had a positive outlook and a smile on his face.”

Citing an example, Willson said  “Crutch” cut his older brother Gil from the basketball team his freshman, sophomore and junior years. Finally, in his senior year, Gil made the varsity team.

“Crutch encouraged him to keep trying and work hard,” Willson said. “They became lifelong friends and enjoyed a great relationship throughout the years. This story could be repeated many times by many people.”

Willson said the dedication is a great thing for a great person.

“I just wish we could have done it while he was alive,” he said. “You just think someone like Warren Crutchfield is going to live forever.”

Crutchfield died from a heart attack in July 2019 at the age of 82.

Last November, former Sherwood principal Dr. Eric Minus sent a letter to the school community, stating he had received a petition to name the gym after Crutchfield.

Pursuant to Montgomery County Public Schools regulations, a committee was formed to review the issue and to collect opinions from the community. The committee included students, teachers, community members and the principal, who served as the non-voting chairman.

Britton said they had planned a dedication with his family, but due to COVID-19 protocols, they are unable to hold a large gathering at the school.

“However, once we are allowed, we will invite the family, friends and alumni for a proper ceremony and opening of the new name of our gym,” he said.

Crutchfield taught at Sherwood for 32 years, and coached basketball and track and field well beyond.

He attended Carver High School in Rockville during segregation and made it to the Olympic trials in track and field. In 1960 he was drafted by the U.S. Army.

Known as a “philosopher of the game,” he coached Sherwood’s girls’ basketball team to state titles in 1974 and 1976. As a varsity coach, he had more than 400 wins.

Crutchfield was the first African-American head coach of a major high school sport in Montgomery County.

He was a member of the inaugural class of the Sherwood Athletic Hall of Fame, inducted in 2010.

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