Wigan Athletic have sacked manager Leam Richardson after losing six of their last seven games to fall into the Championship relegation zone.
The 42-year-old led the Latics to the League One title last season in his first full season in charge.
Richardson, who had only signed a new three-year contract on October 25, initially joined the club as assistant to Paul Cook in the summer of 2017.
Assistant Rob Kelly has been put in charge of the caretaker.
Richardson took over on a temporary basis in November 2020 after John Sheridan left with the club in administration and struggled at the bottom of League One.
He guided the club to safety with a strong end to the season and the new Phoenix 2021 Limited owners named him permanently in April 2021.
They missed two chances to seal automatic promotion last season before finally claiming the title on the final day with a 3-0 victory over Shrewsbury.
A victory over Blackburn on October 12 moved them two points out of the Championship play-off places this season, but they picked up just one point from the subsequent seven games and lost 2-0 at Coventry on Tuesday.
They are two points behind 21st-place Blackpool and visit the DW Stadium on Saturday.
Wigan thanks ‘much loved’ Richardson
Richardson’s most vital involvement last season came off the court.
was attributed helping save the life of striker Charlie Wyke in November after going into cardiac arrest in training, beginning the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) process before club doctor Jonathan Tobin took over.
The Latics said in a statement that the former Accrington boss “will always be held in high regard by the fans.”
“Leam will be fondly remembered as one of the most important managers in the club’s 90-year history,” they said.
“However, having looked at recent form which is challenging the team’s status as a championship club, the board has made the decision to make a change.
“The club would like to place on record its thanks to Leam for his effort and dedication throughout his time at the football club, especially during the administration period and his knee-jerk reaction which helped save Charlie Wyke’s life. .
“A much-loved person and someone Latics fans will always hold in the highest regard, Leam will always be welcome back at the DW.”
Analysis – ‘What’s next after the bold move?’
Mike Minay – BBC Radio Manchester sports reporter
This is a bold move by the owner who just 16 days ago appeared to back the manager who kept the club in League One through a year of management before winning promotion the following season.
Leam Richardson had shaped the team on his vision and had a group of players who knew him and his style. He now it’s up to someone else to take over the task, meet that team and get them out of the fight for relegation.
Who could replace him? A quick look at the managerial market: you have a young manager in Rob Edwards, who was given a brief opportunity recently by Watford. Dean Holden lives in the local area and has Championship-level experience with Bristol City.
There would be some bigger names that could be tempted: Steve Bruce to his old club, perhaps? Although his recent passage through this level did not go well with West Brom.