John Crossey has resigned as manager of the Down senior hurlers, just days after a number of players walked away from the panel.
The Mourne side were plunged into a mini-crisis last week when six players ended their involvement with Crossey's side.
Four players - Martin Coulter, Simon Wilson, Stephen Clarke and Darren Flynn – withdrew their services, experienced centre back Gary Savage confirmed his inter-county retirement, while Gareth "Magic" Johnson left for new employment in Chicago.
A number of them were said to be unhappy with Crossey's training regime, prompting the Belfast man to consider his position. After a meeting with the Down County Board, Crossey agreed to step down "in the interests of Down hurling." He is the first inter-county hurling manager casualty of the season.
Down Hurling Board chairman Brian McAvoy said: "In his five years associated with the team, John (Crossey) brought Down hurling to new heights. His greatest achievement was in leading Down to the National League Division Two title in 2004 - the county's first national title at adult level since 1964.
"His immense talents as a coach however will not be lost to the county as he will continue working in schools and clubs in his role as a Games Promotion Officer."
Already rock bottom of NHL Division 1B and facing a relegation battle, Down entertain Wexford this weekend. Crossey's Cork-based assistant Sean Farrell will take over as manager on an interim basis.