Billy Kinard, former Green Bay Packers defensive back and assistant coach, died Saturday at his home in Fort Payne, Ala., according to the University of Mississippi.
Kinard was 84.
He played for the Packers from 1957 to 1958. He returned to the team as defensive backs coach under Dan Devine in 1974. In 1975, first-year head coach Bart Starr retained Kinard in a newly created position, director of research and development.
Prior to joining Devine’s staff, Kinard served as head coach at Mississippi during the previous three seasons. Hired by his older brother and athletic director Frank “Bruiser” Kinard, Billy Kinard compiled a 16-9 record before being fired three games into the 1973 season.
He also played at Mississippi before being drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the second round in 1956. A year later, the Browns traded Kinard to the Packers along with five other players for three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Roger Zatkoff and quarterback Bobby Garrett. In addition to Kinard, the Packers also received quarterback Babe Parilli, defensive end Carlton Massey, linebacker Sam Palumbo, defensive back John Petitbon and tackle John Macerelli.
After struggling for most of the 1958 season as a starting cornerback, Kinard was benched in his second to last game with the Packers when safety Bobby Dillon volunteered to switch positions and replace him. Kinard retired following the season to become an assistant high school football coach and then finished his pro career with the Buffalo Bills of the newly formed American Football League in 1960.
Devine hired Kinard after firing Don Doll, his experienced and respected secondary coach.
“Devine is clearing out everybody,” Doll told The Milwaukee Journal after being fired. “He’s bringing everybody he can from Missouri, everybody he has been associated with before, regardless of what they know.”
Because of Doll’s popularity, Kinard had problems relating to his defensive backs in what was one of the most tumultuous seasons in Packers history and led to Devine’s departure.
Starr retained Kinard, but reassigned him to a position with unknown parameters.
“It’s difficult to describe his duties precisely,” Starr said at the time, “but, basically, he’s going to be in charge of a program whereby we can establish a system that will measure our success in a number of areas – our growth, our improvement.”
A year later, Kinard resigned to join Forrest Gregg’s staff as defensive backs coach in Cleveland.