Ewen McKenzie will leave the Queensland Reds at the end of the season to pursue an international coaching role.
The 47-year-old has been tipped to take over as Australia coach ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with incumbent Robbie Deans out of contract at the end of the year.
McKenzie was appointed Reds coach in 2009, taking over for the 2010 campaign onwards and leading the team to Super Rugby glory in 2011.
Their title defence ended with a 30-17 defeat at home to the Sharks in the 2012 qualifying finals.
"My experience at the Reds and with Queensland Rugby will be something I'll always treasure but I feel the time is right to pursue new coaching challenges outside of Super Rugby," McKenzie said in a statement.
"Anyone who knows me understands I have strong coaching ambitions and, after spending nine years coaching at a Super Rugby level, I'm excited about pursuing a different role either here or overseas."
McKenzie's replacement, Richard Graham, is already in place, having quit the Western Force in April last year to take over as Reds coach for the 2013 campaign, with his predecessor becoming director of coaching.
McKenzie previously led the NSW Waratahs between 2003 and 2008 and is one of the most experienced coaches in Super Rugby.
Speculation has already begun that McKenzie has his eye on Deans' Wallabies post.
Asked if he felt his decision to quit the Reds would increase the heat on Deans, McKenzie said: "I don't think it will put pressure on Robbie Deans at all.
"He's got the job and I don't think this will change anything in his day-to-day life.
"You guys (the press) love conspiracy theories.
"I have made the decision because it is about doing the right thing by the Reds. I could have waited until August and said, 'by the way, I am leaving'.
"I spent a lot of time here trying to rebuild a team and reputation. It has been a four-year assignment which I have enjoyed."
McKenzie, who was overlooked for the Australia job in 2006 when Eddie Jones' tenure ended, added, however, that he does feel he now has the experience to take on the role.
"It is seven years later," he said.
"If I wasn't ready I wouldn't say I would be - I am ready for the next level and I'm interested in the next level.
"But every level you go up there is less jobs and maybe there won't be any opportunities.
"That's a risk I'm willing to take."
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The Barbarians are one of the top invitational rugby sides with a long history and classic rugby jersey.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Lions get ready for their matches with this green training jersey. It's what the players wear. Get in the Gear!
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The Lions are ready to get their Australia tour underway. They arrive in Perth on Monday.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.