Whelan will remain as owner and hand over the chair to his grandson David Sharpe.
During Whelan's tenure the club has been on an incredible journey from when he took over a side that was in the fourth tier of the Football League, transforming it into a side that spent eight years in the Premier League before their relegation in 2013, and winning their first major trophy in the same season when they won the FA Cup under Roberto Martinez's management.
Lately, things have not been so great for both the owner and the club, with Whelan himself embroiled in a racism row over comments he made in a newspaper interview about Jewish and Chinese people.
This came after the appointment of Malky Mackay, a controversial one given the circumstances as to how he left Cardiff City, and what ultimately denied the Scot the opportunity of managing Crystal Palace. So far, it looks as though that particular appointment isn't working out, with the side six points from safety in the Championship, and currently sitting second from bottom.
As well as the odd bit of a ridicule from the footballing world about his well-documented broken leg in the 1960 FA Cup Final, many fans from Wigan Athletic reflected on the good he has done for the town and the club by managing to put the football club on one of the biggest stages in a town that is often associated with rugby league, instead of recent controversies. There was an element of scepticism about how things will change at the club given the announcement
Here is what a few had to say:
Dave Whelan thank you for everything you have ever done for the club. Club legend for life #wafc— Hodor (@Parkinson_Tom) March 3, 2015
Dave Whelan stepping down as Wigan chairman. He is an absolute hero and has helped the club achieve so much, will be greatly missed #wafc— Barrett (@AdamBarrett80) March 3, 2015
Thanks for the Memories Dave Whelan it's correct and much needed time for change.Lets give David Sharpe our full support #wafc— Peter Hamilton (@Ashtoncrouch) March 3, 2015
The board room is gonna be like phoenix nights. Sharpe is Jerry and Whelan is Brian potter still calling the shots #wafc— David Hassall (@dhassallwafc) March 3, 2015