Eric Elwood is to step down as coach at Connacht at the end of the season after three years in charge in Galway.
The shock move comes just over a week ahead of their second ever Heineken Cup campaign - and after beating Leinster in the RaboDirect PRO12.
"I have come to this decision after thinking long and hard about what is best for me and also what is best for Connacht. I have given a big part of my life to Connacht Rugby and I feel that it is time for me to have a change and time for the province to have a change as well," said the 43-year-old.
"I want to stress that this has nothing to do with any on field issues or performances or anything off the field. Connacht has progressed enormously in the last couple of years and I can only see that continuing but for me personally the time is right to step aside at the end of this season and let someone else take things on.
"It is a decision that I have not made lightly and it's an emotional one but again I would like to make it very clear that it is my decision and no-one else's. I have not been under any pressure to step down and I have always received great support from the IRFU, the Professional Game Board and everyone involved with Connacht."
The former Irish international informed Connacht CEO Tom Sears of his intentions some time ago. Other members of the Connacht management were informed last week.
It's been reported that former Ireland boss Eddie O'Sullivan is favourite to take over.