September 12, 2019
Don Pyke has decided to step down as Senior Coach of the Adelaide Football Club.
He departs having coached the Club for four seasons, with his decision unrelated to the internal and external reviews of the football department which are currently taking place.
“It has been an absolute privilege and joy to coach this Club and I have loved my time here trying to achieve great things with our players for our Members and fans,” Pyke said.
“I came here with the aim of helping our players to individually and collectively be the best they can be and this has been my driving force.
“It has been a wonderful ride with some great memories and unfortunately some sad times, but now it is clear to me it is my time to move on knowing I have given my all.
“This decision has been extraordinarily difficult to reach but vital for me is the Club and playing group being able to move forward, and the health and happiness of important people in my life.”
Pyke led the Club in 93 matches, encompassing two finals campaigns which included the 2017 Grand Final, making him the third-longest serving Senior Coach at Adelaide.
Crows Chairman Rob Chapman said he understood and respected the decision after Pyke first raised the prospect in conversation with him and CEO Andrew Fagan a week or so ago.
“First and foremost, Don is a quality person of high integrity who is driven by strong values, but he is also a talented coach and leader,” Chapman said.
“He took charge of the team at the end of 2015 as everyone in the Crows family was emerging from the most tragic of circumstances and he led with compassion, while bringing a thorough approach and driving high standards both on and off the field.
“Coaching is a very demanding career and we not only thank him but also his family- to his wife Jodie and daughters Ashton and Chandler- for sharing their husband and father in recent years. We wish them the very best for the future.”
Crows CEO Andrew Fagan also paid tribute to Pyke’s passion, strength of character and coaching expertise, and added the Club would now embark on an extensive search for a replacement.
“Don has given his all to the Club and his work ethic, competitiveness and love for footy is immense, and we will always be grateful for the positive contribution he has made,” Fagan said.
“This industry demands that you move quickly and the search for a replacement now begins in earnest, and we will use the learnings and reflections gleaned from the current internal and external reviews to ensure we find the best possible candidate to steer us into a new era.”
The Club will announce the make-up of the panel which will select the new Senior Coach in coming days.
Today has been yet another big day for our club with Don Pyke deciding to step down as Senior Coach.
It’s the culmination of several days of discussions between Don, Andrew Fagan and myself, and these chats are never easy because while people often flippantly talk about “the club” we should never lose sight of the fact there is no club without the people involved.
Don is a quality person and a talented coach, and I want to emphasise that his decision is totally unrelated to the internal and external reviews of the football department which are currently taking place.
We should never forget that he took charge of the team at the end of 2015 as everyone in the Crows family was emerging from the most tragic of circumstances and he led with compassion and integrity, and drove high standards.
Coaching in the AFL is demanding to say the least and it is a line of work that has an impact on more than those directly involved. I would like to personally thank Don’s family – to his wife Jodie and daughters Ashton and Chandler – for sharing their husband and father in recent years.
The AFL industry doesn’t allow you time to sit back and reflect for too long and the search for a new coach now gets underway in earnest. We are in the process of putting together a panel which will be responsible for searching and identifying the best possible candidate, and you can expect us to run a similar process to our previous recruitments of Don and the late Phil Walsh.
I have had a number of people ask if Jason Dunstall or Matthew Pavlich, who are both key parts of our external review, will play a role in finding the next coach. The short answer is they won’t. Jason and Matthew, along with Jonah Oliver and Tim Gabbett, have been called in to act as a fresh set of eyes, to ask questions, analyse and identify trends within the football department, before providing a detailed report to the Board of Directors. They will also be asked to give a formal presentation and talk through their findings. It will then be left to us as Board Directors to act on their observations and information, as well as those gathered by our own internal review.
We will keep you updated as often as possible in the coming weeks as we search for a new coach and in the meantime, I would like to wish our SANFL coaches and players all the very best for their preliminary final this weekend!