A 35-year-old high school teacher and former basketball coach was found fatally shot early yesterday in Greenbelt, police said.

Jason Garland Winfrey, who lived in Burtonsville, was found about 3 a.m. in a Jeep Wrangler in the 5900 block of Cherrywood Terrace, Greenbelt police said.

Winfrey taught English at Bowie High School during the past academic year. Previously he had been at Gaithersburg High School, where he was head basketball coach.

"He was an excellent teacher," Bowie Principal John Birckhead said last night in a telephone interview.

"His students really liked him," said Birckhead, who said Winfrey was professional and very competent. Winfrey taught ninth grade, according to Birckhead.

The principal said that he had heard "nothing but compliments" about Winfrey and his teaching.

"He engaged his class," he said.

Winfrey also appeared to enjoy some success as a basketball coach.

Near the close of the 2003-04 season, his Gaithersburg High Trojans had an overall record of 10-5.

They were 6-2 in Montgomery County's 4A West division and at one point ran up a streak of five consecutive victories.

Police said an officer who was on patrol on Cherrywood Terrace early yesterday spotted a Jeep Wrangler halted in the road.

The engine was running, and the driver's-side window was broken out, according to a police statement.

On closer inspection, the officer found Winfrey, who apparently had been shot in the head, police said.

The slaying appeared to be the 80th homicide this year in Prince George's County.

Birckhead said he telephoned some members of his staff to give them the news.

"Just like everyone else, we're all pretty shocked by everything," he said.

"He definitely made an impact with the students. We're just basically all surprised and shocked."

Winfrey reportedly was married and was preparing to celebrate his first anniversary.

Staff writer Allison Klein contributed to this report.