Team Alpha Male head coach Duane “Bang” Ludwig has decided to leave the team in order to move back to Colorado and start his own MMA gym.

Team leader and No. 1-ranked UFC bantamweight Urijah Faber appeared on tonight’s edition of “UFC Tonight” to break the surprising news:

An official notice has been posted to the Team Alpha Male site in search of a qualified new head coach. Meanwhile, Ludwig himself spoke up to MMAFighting.com to discuss his next career move:

“I'm moving back to Colorado to open and run my own gym and business," Ludwig said. "Time to build my own brand. All is good here in Sacramento. Love the guys here, but I have to build my own business."

The news come as such a shock because it was Ludwig who guided team members to a huge boost in momentum during his short stint as head coach.

His training experience and skills paid immediate dividends for Team Alpha Male members, resulting in Faber going undefeated during an absolutely stellar 2013, while former No. 1-ranked featherweight Chad “Money” Mendes has won six straight bouts after dropping his UFC 142 main event against Jose Aldo.

Joseph Benavidez also went on a tear, reeling off three consecutive victories before his failed rematch with UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson at UFC on FOX 9 last December.

Younger team members like T.J. Dillashaw and Chris Holdsworth also saw the benefits of Ludwig’s tutelage. Dillashaw racked up three victories in four fights to sit at the No. 5 spot in the bantamweight division, while Holdsworth won the male contract on the recent TUF 18.

All told, it’s a devastating loss for Team Alpha Male, who will be very hard-pressed to find a replacement for “Bang.” Ludwig will be staying with the team through May 24, the day on which UFC 173 takes place. But that day is rapidly approaching, and Team Alpha Male has to be in at least a small amount of disarray following the announcement.

Just who will replace “Bang” in Sacramento? Can anyone fill his big shoes?