Ames, Iowa Iowa State coach Dan McCarney resigned Wednesday in his 12th season as head coach.
McCarney, the Big 12's longest tenured coach, will remain with the Cyclones for their final two games of the season.
He has a 55-84 record at Iowa State, including a 26-67 mark in the Big 12.
"Sometimes, you just know its time," said McCarney, who was under contract through 2010. "As hard as it is to say that - especially because I know that this department is on the cusp of some special things - I realize it is time for different leadership."
Speculation surrounding McCarney's future had been heating up over the past month. The Cyclones (3-7, 0-6 Big 12) have dropped seven straight to Division I-A opponents - by an average of 20 points - and are one of two teams from BCS conferences to start 0-6 in league play.
McCarney led Iowa State to five bowl games in six years after a 22-year postseason drought, but last week's 41-10 home loss to Kansas University eliminated the Cyclones from bowl eligibility.
The Cyclones play Saturday at Colorado and finish the season Nov. 18 at home against Missouri.
"It is with sadness that I accept Dan's decision," said athletic director Jamie Pollard. "I had hoped to see coach McCarney lead the Cyclones successfully for many more years. But, it's the true measure of this man that he was unselfish in assessing what was best for Iowa State."
Iowa State came within one win of reaching its first Big 12 title game in each of the last two seasons, only to lose the season finale.
McCarney took over at Iowa State in 1995 after five seasons as the defensive coordinator and defensive line coach under Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin. He spent the first 13 years of his coaching career as an assistant at Iowa.
McCarney's departure marks the third major coaching change at Iowa State since Pollard took over in September 2005. Pollard fired men's basketball coach Wayne Morgan in March after the Cyclones finished 16-14 and missed out on postseason play. Pollard promoted former Olympic gold medalist Cael Sanderson to head wrestling coach later that month.