DickAdvokaat has quit as Sunderland boss having masterminded the Premier League club’s great escape from relegation this season.
The Dutch boss succeeded Gustavo Poyet at the Stadium of Light, inheriting a team one point above relegation zone in March.
The ‘Black Cats’ went on to win a record three and draw three of the side’s remaining eight matches to scrape through relegation.
Advocaat said: “At certain moments in your life you have to make a decision and I am almost 68-years-old now.
“A number of clubs contacted me but the decision was always Sunderland or nobody.
“I would like to thank the chairman, Lee, the staff and of course the fans.
“We gave everything in our time there and achieved what we set out to.
“Sunderland has been one of the highlights of my career.”
Managements of Sunderland had pleaded with Advokaat to stay and after securing Premier League safety with a match to spare with a draw at Arsenal, the former AZ Alkmaar, PSV and Borussia Monchengladbach coach had a rethink, after the emotional scenes at the Emirates Stadium.
He eventually opted to go out on a high, following subsequent discussion with his wife.
Sunderland chairman Ellis Short said: “Although I am extremely disappointed, I understand and absolutely respect his decision.
“In his brief time here he made a real impact and lifted the club with his experience and enthusiasm.
“We will always be grateful to him for what he achieved.”
Advokaat, who has won titles in his home country Netherlands, Russia and Scotland, has twice coached the Dutch national team and also managed United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Belgium, Russia and Serbia.