Two years after leading Auburn to a surprising national championship, Gene Chizik is out as the Tigers' head football coach.
Chizik, with the help of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, guided the Tigers to the top of the college football world in 2010, but this year's squad was rarely competitive and finished with a 3-9 record, including 0-8 in the SEC.
The move comes a day after Auburn was humiliated in a 49-0 loss to arch-rival Alabama in the annual Iron Bowl. The Tigers were also beaten 38-0 by Georgia two weeks ago.
"After careful consideration and a thorough evaluation of our football program, I have recommended that Coach Chizik not be retained," said Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs in a statement on Sunday. "Earlier this morning, I informed Gene that he will not return as head coach."
Chizik guided Auburn to a record of 33-19 in four years, including a memorable 14-0 mark in 2010 that included a 22-19 victory over Oregon in the BCS National Championship Game. Auburn went 8-5 in Chizik's first season and 8-5 again last year before this year's disastrous campaign.
"I am very grateful for the opportunity that I had during the last four seasons to serve as the head football coach at Auburn University," said Chizik. "I'm extremely disappointed with the way this season turned out and I apologize to the Auburn family and our team for what they have had to endure.
"In my 27 years of coaching, I have gained an understanding of the high expectations in this profession. When expectations are not met, I understand changes must be made.
"While we experienced a tremendous low in 2012, I will always be proud of the incredible highs that we achieved, including three bowl victories, an SEC championship and a national championship."
The national championship season did not come without controversy, as Newton's eligibility was constantly questioned throughout the year.
Chizik received a raise and a contract extension through 2015 after leading Auburn to its first national championship since 1957. The total buyout for the head coach and his nine full-time assistants is $11.09 million to be paid in monthly installments through 2015-16.
Auburn will begin the search for a new coach immediately with a committee led by Jacobs and former Tigers Heisman Trophy winners Pat Sullivan and Bo Jackson.
Chizik became the fourth different SEC coach to lose his job, following Kentucky's Joker Phillips, Tennessee's Derek Dooley and Arkansas' John L. Smith.