Kenneth Henderson Willard (born July 14, 1943 in Richmond, Virginia) is a former American football running back/fullback in the National Football League. Willard was drafted with the second pick of the 1965 NFL Draft, by the San Francisco 49ers ahead of future NFL Hall of Famers Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers. He played nine seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and one with the St. Louis Cardinals. He opted to pass on his eleventh season after two consecutive years of knee injuries in St. Louis.
He attended the University of North Carolina after turning down Ted Williams and a contract with the Boston Red Sox. He went to Carolina on a football scholarship and also played baseball for the Tar Heels. He led the ACC in home runs two times and is unofficially credited with the longest home run in Tar Heel history at 525 feet (160 m). He is the first UNC athlete to be named to the first-team Academic All-America team and had his portrait placed on Kenan Stadium in 2013 celebrating this honor.
Willard was a four-time Pro Bowler, selected in 1965, 1966, 1968 and 1969 and scored 45 rushing and 17 receiving touchdowns. His best year was 1968 when he ran for 967 yards (884 m) and 7 touchdowns.
He was a member of the 49ers when the team won the NFC West title in 1970, 1971 and 1972 and with the Cardinals when they won the division title in 1974.
By Dean Hanley
Page : 1