The former England boss had placed the Rams in a strong position to earn automatic promotion at the turn of the year, but a slide in form culminated with a final day collapse as they missed the play-offs.
Also added to McClaren's woes was his failure to beat rivals Nottingham Forest over two games during the season, with a draw and a loss against the club when they were still under the management of Stuart Pearce.
McClaren is a former Forest boss himself, taking over in 2011 but failed to see out the season, replaced by Steve Cotterill.
While he led Derby to finish higher in the table this season than Forest, eighth as opposed to 14th, the fact they failed to make the play-offs was seen as an unforgivable blow by the board.
The big question remains as to whether this will be a positive move by Derby, or they have set themselves back for a period of rebuilding, rather than allowing McClaren to build on the platform he had made.
His dismissal has left Forest fans feeling good at least, with many taking to social media to poke fun at the Rams. Here is a look at a selection of the responses...
Steve McClaren has been sacked by Derby! I don't think they were going anywhere under him. #nffc— Hannah Dexter (@hannahforest) May 25, 2015
nffc (@martynbigdog) May 22, 2015
Pretty sure McClaren would have got Derby promoted if they'd stuck with him. I'm quite happy to see the back of him as a Forest fan...— Patrick Atkinson (@Patkinson6) May 25, 2015