ISAAC Muller has informed North Albury officials that he won't be at Bunton Park next season.
The Hoppers were hopeful that the giant ruckman would remain as a player after stepping down as coach.
However, Muller said he based his decision on what he thought was best for his playing future.
"I wanted to do the right thing and let North Albury know of my intentions before I explore my options," Muller said.
"It was a tough decision because I always saw myself staying at the club for a long period.
"But I based my decision on what I think I need to do to succeed and what is best for my football.
"I loved my time at Bunton Park, it's a great club and I don't hold any grudges against anybody."
Muller became the youngest coach in league history when he was handed the top job last year and turned 24 over the weekend.
He led the club to three wins in his inaugural season to defy most critics who widely tipped the Hoppers to finish with the wooden spoon.
"It's always an interesting scenario when a coach steps down at a club whether he remains as a player or moves on," he said.
"I feel that I wasn't playing my best footy as a coach.
"I was playing much better football before I took on a lot of roles with work, coaching and the farm.
"I feel like I haven't proved myself in the O&M yet and have set myself the goal of showing what I'm capable of.
"Sometimes you have to be a bit selfish and choose what is best for you.
"Some people may hold that against you but I feel at ease that I've gone about it the right way."
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Muller said the toughest part of departing Bunton Park was saying goodbye to the playing group.
"The hardest part for me is leaving the young players that I have coached and who have shown so much promise," he said.
"I really hope North Albury finds another coach who is as passionate about the young kids as I was."
Muller didn't rule out joining a rival O&M club with speculation rife that he is high on Wodonga Raiders' recruiting wish-list.
"I have got some great mates at the club so if I do decide to stay in the O&M it will be challenging," he said.
"But at the end of the day, that's footy and I don't see it as a huge issue playing against them."