PROVO, Utah (AP) _ BYU coach Gary Crowton stepped down after being asked to resign Wednesday, ending a four-year stint with the Cougars that began with 12 straight victories and finished with three straight losing seasons.

BYU finished 5-6 this season and Crowton went 14-21 over the last three years, the school's worst three-year run since the early 1960s.

BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said at a news conference with Crowton that the coach was asked for his resignation.

``At this time I feel like it's time for me to step down and let the football program move on in a different direction,'' Crowton said.

He replaced Lavell Edwards, who turned BYU into one of the most successful and entertaining programs in the country before retiring after 29 years as Cougars coach.

``When I took the job, following Lavell Edwards was the biggest challenge,'' Crowton said.

Crowton was a former Cougars assistant who was working as offensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears when he was tapped by BYU after the 2000 season.

The Cougars started 12-0 in his first season, making a run at breaking into the Bowl Championship Series, before losing their final two games. Crowton was never able to duplicate that success.