Ball State fired coach Stan Parrish on Tuesday, a few days after finishing the season 4-8.
Parrish stepped in for Brady Hoke to coach the Cardinals in the GMAC Bowl after the 2008 campaign, then led the team to a 2-10 finish the next season before this year's disappointing season ended with a 59-21 home loss to Northern Illinois.
''As we evaluated the on-field performance and the football program in its entirety, we decided it was time for a change in direction in the leadership of the program,'' athletic director Tom Collins said.
Parrish has a 61-50-3 record in 11 years as a head coach.
The school says the search for a new coach will begin immediately. Eddie Faulkner, who has served as Ball State's offensive coordinator the last two seasons, will serve as interim head coach.
It has been a steep decline for Ball State, which was 12-0 in 2008 before a loss to Buffalo in the Mid-American Conference championship game. The Cardinals were ranked as high as 12th that season - the best in program history - but a 45-13 loss to Tulsa in the GMAC Bowl proved to be a sign of things to come.