Lee Johnson was previously manager of Oldham, Barnsley and Bristol CitySunderland have sacked Lee Johnson following Saturday’s 6-0 League One thrashing at Bolton Wanderers.
Head coach Johnson, 40, who arrived at the Stadium of Light in December 2020, has left immediately, along with assistant head coach Jamie McAllister.
Sunderland are two points off League One’s top spot after Saturday’s defeat.
“I would like to thank Lee for his commitment and endeavour over the past 14 months,” said Sunderland’s Swiss chairman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus.
“We regret that we have had to take this decision, but felt immediate change was needed.
“We firmly believe this is in the best interests of Sunderland as we strive to earn promotion this season,” added Louis-Dreyfus, the youngest chairman in English football when he took over last February, at the age of 23.
Johnson won 41 times in 75 games, including the EFL Trophy final victory over Tranmere Rovers in March, the club’s first Wembley win since 1973.
How Sunderland looked at halfway this seasonBut Saturday’s defeat – their eighth in 29 league games this season – was their biggest since an 8-0 Premier League defeat at Southampton in October 2014, under Gus Poyet
Also, in this their fourth straight season back at third-tier level, Sunderland have played more games than both the top two, leaders Rotherham United and Wigan Athletic, who have four matches in hand.
Sunderland said in a statement: “The process to appoint a new head coach will commence immediately and a further update regarding the club’s interim coaching set-up will be communicated shortly.”
Excluding caretakers, the Wearsiders are looking for their 12th boss in 10 years to follow the line of Martin O’Neill, Paolo di Canio, Poyet, Dick Advocaat, Sam Allardyce, David Moyes, Simon Grayson, Chris Coleman, Jack Ross, Phil Parkinson and Johnson.
AnalysisBBC Newcastle’s Sunderland reporter Nick Barnes
“In the light of Saturday’s 6-0 defeat, and Lee Johnson’s failure to address the obvious problems at half time, an inquest was inevitable.
“Having already lost heavily at Rotherham this season and after embarrassing defeats by Sheffield Wednesday and Lincoln City, I suspect the club feared another repeat in the coming months.
“Another repeat would be unacceptable to fans and potentially fatal in the club’s hopes for automatic promotion.”
No Passion, No Point: Adam Peaty reveals what he’s had to sacrifice in pursuit of Olympic goldThe truth behind ‘The Purple One’: Will Prince now be known as evil or genius?