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Don Pyke's farewell statement

Pyke, Chapman & Fagan Presser September 12 Departing Senior Coach Don Pyke speaks to media along with Rob Chapman and Andrew Fagan.

I wish to inform you that following recent discussions with Andrew Fagan and Rob Chapman I have elected to stand down as coach of the Adelaide Crows. 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.

This decision has been extraordinarily difficult to reach and I do so following some serious and honest post-season reflections and conversations with a number of key people, including players, coaches, management, the board, and my family and friends. I appreciate that the Club is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of the football operations, though the timing and outcome of this review plays no bearing in my decision. It is not a decision I have taken lightly, but clearly the team’s recent performance and the current state of the Club and playing group is not to our - or my - expectations and for this, in my role, I ultimately accept responsibility.

There were a number of factors and considerations in making this decision, but with a clear appreciation that change is required, in the end it came down to what I felt is in the best interests of the team and the Club. I believe the Club needs some clear air and a fresh page to move forward and feel that for me to continue would potentially hold back progress to move positively into next season.

There is no doubt that the last 18 months have been very challenging for all involved at our Club and from a personal viewpoint particularly frustrating and draining. Further to this I believe to continue to coach in the current environment that the Club and myself have endured is not sustainable. I therefore feel it is best I make way and allow a fresh and new voice to set a new direction.

I am disappointed to reach this position, but vital for me are two things:

  1. The club and playing group is able to move forward
  2. The health and happiness of important people in my life

I would like to thank the players, coaches (especially Scott Camporeale and Heath Younie), staff, management and the board of the Adelaide Football Club for their support and efforts over my tenure and wish them all the very best for the future. I have been fortunate to work with many wonderful people and will cherish the friendships created during my time at the Club. I will watch from afar, and follow with great interest, the Club and team’s progress and will always have a special place in my heart for the Crows.

I came to the Club 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. I encourage all players to continue to own and drive their careers forward and accept their role and responsibility in creating a winning team environment.

I would especially like to thank my wife and daughters for their incredible love, care and support to enable me to pursue my dreams in football and to selfishly devote the time and energy into the pursuit of building and preparing a team to compete week in and week out. The families ride the highs and lows in this caper and it is difficult to see the impact it has on those closest to you. I would also like to thank my friends from far and wide who have reached out in support in recent times. I appreciate all your thoughts and best wishes.

I would like to make one quick comment around AFL football. The landscape we now operate in as an industry is more challenging than ever for players, administrators, boards and coaches and this is leading to a wide range of issues around contentment. I hope that in the future we can find a better balance in how we view the game regardless of result - otherwise I fear for people’s genuine love of the game.

In concluding, I would like to thank the members and many fans of the Adelaide Crows and wish all associated with the Club all the best for the future. I leave disappointed, but knowing I was true to myself, worked hard in pursuit of victory and always had the best interests of the players and club in mind.

I believe I still have a lot to offer the game, but will now take some time with family and friends and assess my options, before deciding my future path.

Thank you.