Former Mississippi coach Kinard dies

Mississippi announced the passing of former head coach Billy Kinard.Photo: Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports (file photo)

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Billy Kinard, who was the first alumnus to become head coach at Mississippi, died this past weekend at his home in Fort Payne, Ala. He was 84.

Kinard passed away after an extended illness, according to the university’s website.

Kinard was a defensive back and halfback in the 1950s under College Football Hall of Fame coach Johnny Vaught. He helped the Rebels win Southeastern Conference championships in 1954 and 1955 and played in two Sugar Bowls and one Cotton Bowl.

When Vaught retired after a heart attack in October 1970, Ole Miss promoted assistant coach Frank “Bruiser” Kinard to athletic director and hired Billy Kinard as head football coach.

Billy Kinard led the Rebels to a 10-2 record in 1971, capped by a 41-18 victory over Georgia Tech in the Peach Bowl. He then posted a 5-5 mark the following year and a 1-2 record to begin the 1973 campaign before Vaught returned to replace Kinard.

Kinard was selected in the second round of the 1956 NFL Draft and played with the Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers and with the AFL’s Buffalo Bills.