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Georgia High School Football Coach Arrested For Strangling Girlfriend To Death

Carl Kearney Jr., who was named coach of the year in 2023, walked into a police station and confessed to the murder.


Carl Kearney Jr., a 43-year-old high school football coach from Griffin, Georgia, walked into a police station located in Clinton, Maryland, and informed officers that he strangled his girlfriend, Patrina Best, to death inside her home. He was charged with murder on Feb. 17.

As Fox 5 DC reports, officers checked Best’s Maryland residence and found her inside, dead. According to authorities, Kearney confessed that he strangled Best during an argument. He has been charged with first- and second-degree murder and is still in the custody of the Maryland Department of Corrections.

Kearney is head coach of the Spalding High School varsity football team and graduated from Georgia State University. 

Best, as WJCL reports, was also a graduate of Georgia State University and a member of the swimming and diving team.

Kearney graduated from Griffin High in Georgia after playing for the school during the ’90s. As a coach, he took his Spalding team to the GHSA 4A playoffs in 2023, where they were eliminated in the state quarterfinal branch after compiling a 12-1 record. Still, Kearney won a coach of the year award. The team won regionals for the first time in 20 years.

According to Sports Illustrated, the Prince George’s County Police Department released a statement on Feb. 18 saying that Kearney had confessed to investigators during an interview.

According to the press release, “On February 17, 2024, at approximately 9:20 am, Kearney walked into the Division V Clinton police station and advised officers he strangled his girlfriend inside of her Accokeek home earlier that morning. The home is in the 800 block of St. James Court. Patrol officers responded to the residence to conduct a welfare check. Once inside, officers located the victim unresponsive. She was pronounced dead on the scene.”

Kearney was a member of two New York Jets training camp teams in 2004 and 2005 but never made an active roster. In his coaching position, he had completed a remarkable turnaround of Spalding High School after being hired in 2020, inheriting a team which had been 1-9 the previous year and turning it into a regular contender in the Georgia State High School football playoffs. 

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