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.