Adelaide Coach Don Pyke tendered his resignation with two years remaining on his contract. Once the season concluded, the club embarked on an extensive review of their on and off field operations, a review which is still ongoing. However, the club and Pyke both said his departure had nothing to do with the review and was his decision following talks with club officials and his family. He had been considering stepping down for a week.
Pyke, at a press conference said with a prepared statement, "When the side is performing as it is, I recognize that ... I'm part of the problem ... The real question I've grappled with in the last couple of weeks ... 'Am I also part of the solution?'
My feeling ... in my personal self-reflections, I've reached the decision it's best to hand over to a fresh face with a new voice to move the club forward ... It has been an absolute privilege and joy to coach this club and I have loved my time here ... I came here with the aim of helping our players to individually and collectively be the best they can be ... 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 ... This decision has been extraordinarily difficult to reach but vital for me is the club and playing group being able to move forward ..."
Pyke also spoke of the pressures that come with football, especially in a two-club city like Adelaide, "The pressure ... is significant and that is part of what you do take on … but there’s a line and we’re treading carefully to the line. The general pressure that goes when you’re losing games ... real ... It’s different to other markets ... at times it does become quite draining ...". He said he hoped that the pressures would not take the fun out of the game for others.
Pyke was coach for four seasons, taking Adelaide to the 2017 Grand Final, which ended with a loss to Richmond and the club plummeted after that. They finished sixth in his first season as coach in 2016, but ended last year in 12th. This year was an 11th place finish plagued by off-field controversies that go back to a contentious preseason training camp ahead of the 2018 season. .
CEO Andrew Fagan said, ‘‘Don has given his all to the club and his work ethic, competitiveness and love for footy is immense ... we will always be grateful for the positive contribution he has made.’’ Chairman Rob Chapman said Pyke was a " .. .quality person of high integrity who is driven by strong values, but he is also a talented coach and leader ... ".
Pyke coached Adelaide in 93 matches, the third-longest serving Crows coach. He was appointed ahead of the 2016 season after the tragic death of Phil Walsh. Pyke said his immediate focus now would be to spend time with his family and get in a bit of golf and fishing, but did not rule out a return to coaching as he believes he still has something to offer.
Fagan said the club would appoint a coaching selection panel who will recommend the next coach, but would not be rushed into a decision, "We want to find the best possible person, not the person we can find the quickest. It's an important decision, we'll identify the criteria we're looking to match against potential candidates. We'll go through the process ... but it will take as long as it needs to find the best person."
Pyke played 192 games for West Coast 1989 to 1996 when injury forced a premature retirement. He was a member of the 1992 and 1994 premiership teams and won the best and fairest award in 1993.
Source: sen.com.au (print and audio), afl.com.au, Encyclopedia of League Footballers
Article last changed on Thursday, September 12, 2019 - 8:03 PM EDT