Gatland era ends in defeat
Warren Gatland says it would break his heart if Welsh rugby ever returned to the doldrums.
Gatland's 12-year reign as Wales coach ended with a 40-17 defeat in the World Cup bronze-medal match against New Zealand in Tokyo.
Wales won four Six Nations titles, three Grand Slams, reached two World Cup semi-finals and were briefly world ranked number one team under his direction.
Gatland's assistants Shaun Edwards and Robin McBryde are also leaving their posts, with a new coaching team headed by Wayne Pivac taking over this month.
When Gatland was appointed in late 2007, Wales had earlier crashed out of that year's World Cup at the pool stage following a horror defeat by Fiji in Nantes.
"I really hope for what we've achieved in the last 10-12 years, and we feel we've earned respect and put respect back into Wales as an international team, that the new coaches coming in continue to build on that," Gatland said.
"Because what we've done, what we've achieved, it would break my heart if Wales went back into the doldrums.
"I just want then to continue. There's an opportunity for the new group to come in and build on what we've created and to improve on it."
There was no fairytale finish for Gatland as the All Blacks ran in six tries, although Wales replied with touchdowns for wing Josh Adams and full-back Hallam Amos.
Adams' score took him to seven touchdowns for the tournament, breaking Shane Williams' Welsh record for one World Cup in 2007.
Gatland, who will coach the Barbarians against Wales in Cardiff later this month, added: "I had already gone through that process of knowing it was my last game and not trying to get too emotional about it."