A left-sided defender or midfielder, Black began his playing career with Rangers in 1980 but was farmed out to Junior side Linlithgow Rose to gain competitive experience. He left Ibrox permanently in 1983 for Motherwell, before joining Heart of Midlothian for £30,000 a year later.
Black was part of the Maroons side that missed out on a League and Cup double in 1985-86 before moving south when Portsmouth's £350,000 bid was accepted in 1989. He was reunited with former boss Alex MacDonald in 1991 when he joined Airdrieonians and won his first senior medal with the Diamonds, when they defeated Dundee in the 1994-95 Scottish Challenge Cup.
In 1999 Black moved to Raith Rovers. By now a veteran, he played for a further two seasons before being appointed joint assistant-manager of the Kirkcaldy side in 2001. Managerial changes saw him leave Starks Park in early 2002 but he found a new position as assistant to former Airdrie team-mate Sandy Stewart at Airdrie United, the reincarnation of Airdrieonians, later that year.
Black left Airdrie United for Leicester City in 2004, gaining a coaching position under Craig Levein. His contract at the Walkers Stadium ended when Levein was sacked in 2006 and he sealed a return to Airdrie later that year, this time as manager.
Black's managerial record at Airdrie United was sadly not to be as successful as his time as a player. Despite signing some reasonable players, and guiding the team to an Alba Challenge Cup Final win against Ross County in 2008, he will be remembered for an uninspiring league record that saw the club lose four 1st/ 2nd Division play off games over the course of his tenure.
Thus, on the evening of June 15, 2010, the website of The Airdrie and Coatbridge Advertiser reported that despite no official statement from the club, Kenny Black had "parted company" with Airdrie United. A few days later it was confirmed by the club that Black had been "relieved of his duties".
Events took a twist on 23 June however, as the BBC reported that Black and the club had failed to agree on a compensation deal to cover the remaining 2 years on his contract, and that Black was still being paid. Black was said to be seeking legal advice on the matter.
On July 15, 2010 it was announced that Kenny Black had been appointed as an assistant coach at the Scotland national team, and that he had come to an agreement with Airdrie United over compensation.
On 19 January 2011, Black was appointed assistant manager at Motherwell.