Football (soccer) fans around the world are accustomed to seeing mid-season coaching changes when teams flounder. Such moves are not as common in professional American-style football. But a veteran head coach is leaving the Miami Dolphins after a dismal start to the current season.

Dave Wannstedt has resigned as head coach of the National Football League's Miami Dolphins. Defensive coordinator Jim Bates has been named interim head coach for the remainder of the season.

Miami has the worst record in the NFL this season, losing eight of nine games. Little has gone right for the once proud Dolphins, as star running back Ricky Williams retired just before training camp, and top pass receiver David Boston suffered a season-ending knee injury during the preseason.

Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Wannstedt said somebody had to accept responsibility for the Dolphins' poor showing so he decided to step down. Team officials said they did not ask him to resign, and Wannstedt said the move is best for the team and its fans.

"As you might imagine, this was not an easy decision to make from a personal standpoint," he said. "But I believe it is the proper decision at this time in terms of being a professional."

Wannstedt, 52, coached four full seasons in Miami and guided the Dolphins to the playoffs in his first two seasons. His previous six-year coaching experience in Chicago was similar. Now the Dolphins are one defeat away from their first losing season since 1988. Miami has appeared in five Super Bowls, winning two in 1973 and 1974.