AFL bloodbath continues as coach gone
THE Adelaide Crows have announced Don Pyke will depart the club after 93 games in charge and with two years remaining on his contract.
The under-siege mentor was under huge pressure after following a grand final appearance by missing the finals in consecutive seasons and was expected to face serious scrutiny in an end-of-season review.
The club announced Thursday "he decided to step down".
"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," Pyke said.
"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."
Crows chairman Rob Chapman said Pyke first raised the prospect of his exit a fortnight 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."
Pyke is the second senior leader to fall on his sword after captain Taylor Walker recently stepped down.
The Crows will announce a panel to select its new coach later this week.
"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," Crows CEO Andrew Fagan said.
Adelaide is the fifth AFL club to part ways with its senior coach in 2019 following North Melbourne (Brad Scott), St Kilda (Alan Richardson), Carlton (Brendon Bolton) and Fremantle (Ross Lyon).
The Kangaroos (Rhyce Shaw), Saints (Brett Ratten) and Blues (David Teague) all promoted from within. The Dockers are still in the market.
Age: 50 Adelaide Crows coach: 2016-2019
Record: 56-1-34 Best-finish: Runner-up (2017)
2016 - Fifth, knocked out by Sydney in second week of finals
2017 - Minor premier, lost Grand Final to Richmond
2018 - 12th; 2019 - 11th
Don Pyke leaves @Adelaide_FC with the best win percentage of any full-time coach in club history (60.75%).— Max Laughton (@maxlaughton) September 12, 2019
He sat fifth for win percentage among active coaches, behind only Chris Scott, Adam Simpson, John Longmire & Alastair Clarkson. @FOXFOOTY
Not sure why @Adelaide_FC needed an external review to determine Don Pyke’s fate. Should have done it after loss to Carlton...when it was obvious he’d lost the players.— Corey Norris (@coreynorris9) September 12, 2019
Don Pyke has stood down as Adelaide coach. This is arguably the Crows highlight of the season.— Titus O'Reily (@TitusOReily) September 12, 2019