Keith chairman Andy Troup admits he was left in shock after manager Dean Donaldson resigned on Saturday night.
Donaldson, a firm favourite at Kynoch Park, cited work and family commitments as his reasons for bringing his tenure to a close.
His assistant Michael Brown has taken interim charge of the team and has expressed a desire to stay on once a new manager is found.
Fellow assistant Jamie Lennox will stay on until an appointment is made but will then leave the club.
A gutted Troup has paid tribute to “club legend” Donaldson, who was part of Keith’s Highland League title-winning side in 2007 and took the managerial reins in January 2018.
Troup said: “There was absolutely nothing to say this was on the cards. It’s out of the blue.
“I want to thank Dean and his management team for everything they’ve done – the transformation in the club has been unbelievable.
“The players he’s brought in, the dedication and commitment they have given has been second to none.
“When I appointed him, he had been a club legend at Keith and he came in to help when Martin Skinner and Ewan Robb were the management team.
“When I decided it was time for them to move on, Dean was my first port of call.
“He said then he probably wasn’t ready but he took it on and fitted in superbly. The respect he got from the players was absolutely amazing.
“We had planned where we wanted to take the club over the next period. As you can tell, I’m gutted. I don’t think there was anything the club could have done differently.”
Keith still have friendly matches lined up, with the Highland League season not starting until November 28 at the earliest.
Players have already agreed to go unpaid until they are able to play matches in front of crowds again.
It is also a far from ideal time to be recruiting a manager amid the pandemic but Troup is keen to make an appointment as soon as possible.
He added: “I’ve got someone in mind to speak to, but I wanted to wait until this was finalised. It’s going to be difficult to get someone in, but we’ll see what happens.
“Between making sure the football club survives, making sure my business survives, making sure my family and the football club family is safe, it’s been a horrendous time.
“But we will come out the other side.”