Paddy Tally has backed Down to continue building, even though he will no longer be at the helm at Pairc Esler having stepped down from his role.
The Mourne county board met on Thursday night to vote on whether to extend the manager's expiring contract into 2022, however the motion did not gain enough support to pass.
Tally's tenure ends without silverware after their Ulster Championship defeat to Donegal at the weekend, while they were eliminated by Armagh in the 2019 quarter-finals and Cavan in the 2020 semi-finals.
The former All-Ireland winning coach with Tyrone in 2003 did manage to keep Down in Division Two of the National League this year as they finished third in the North standings, but that wasn't enough to save his job.
"Nowadays, it takes a bigger team to support a team," commented Tally.
"The last three years have brought unexpected challenges to each and every one of us. Despite everything, I am confident that Down GAA has much reason to be hopeful.
"We have not achieved as much this year as we would have wanted, but in maintaining our league status, the team perhaps achieved more than many predicted, and I hope they can push on from here.
"I am very grateful to the players with whom I have worked in the last three seasons and to their clubs and families. I will always have a connection and an abiding personal respect for Down GAA."
In their statement on his departure, Down GAA said: "We wish to place on record our gratitude to Paddy and his management and backroom team for their time, effort and commitment."