Expected to compete for an NCAA Tournament berth this season the Tigers have struggled. Following a 57-41 loss at LSU on Sunday the Tigers are 3-11 in the SEC and 11-16 overall.
Fortner's record during her eight seasons at Auburn is 143-105 going into a Thursday night home game vs. Alabama. The Tigers went to two NCAA Tournaments and two WNIT events on her watch.
"I love Auburn and have absolutely loved my time here during the course of the last eight years," Fortner said on Tuesday. "I have dedicated the last 28 years to coaching basketball and feel it is time for me to pursue something different.
"This was not an easy decision as I have contemplated this for several months, but I am looking forward to the change," the coach added. "I'm proud of where the Auburn program is and what we've accomplished."
Coach Nell Fortner celebrates with her team.
"We respect Nell's desire to pursue other opportunities and appreciate everything that she's done for Auburn," Auburn Athletic Director Jay Jacobs said. "Nell has been a tremendous ambassador for Auburn Athletics, the university and our community, always willing to be a team player. She achieved success on the court and developed her players athletically, academically and socially.
"I have the utmost respect for Nell and want to thank her for her contributions to the women's basketball program and the Auburn community during her eight years at Auburn," Jacobs added.
Fortner was hired by Auburn after she coached the WBNA's Indiana Fever from 2001-2003. Before that she was coach of the U.S. Olympic team that won the 2000 gold medal.
She began her career coaching as an assistant at Stephen F. Austin from 1986-90. She was assistant at Louisiana Tech or five seasons before becoming head coach at Purdue in 1996-97. She played at the University of Texas from 1977-81.
"Auburn has great leadership under Dr. Gogue, Jay Jacobs and Meredith Jenkins, and the future here is very bright," Fortner said. "I want to thank my staff and players, both former and current, along with the administration and entire Auburn family for their support during my time at Auburn. It has been eight of the best years of my life and I look forward to following and supporting the program in the future."