Don Pyke

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Don Pyke
Don Pyke.jpg
Pyke in April 2017
Personal information
Full name Donald Lachlan Pyke
Date of birth (1968-12-05) 5 December 1968 (age 48)
Place of birth Bloomington, Illinois, United States
Original team(s) Belconnen
Draft Pre-draft selection, 1988 (West Coast)
Height 180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 78 kg (172 lb)
Position(s) Midfielder
Playing career
Years Club Games (Goals)
1987–96 Claremont 063 (90)
1989–96 West Coast 132 (70)
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1999–2000 Claremont (WAFL) 39 (23–16–0)
2016– Adelaide (AFL) 36 (26-10-0)
3 Coaching statistics correct as of Round 23, 2016.
Career highlights
Sources: AFL Tables,

Donald Lachlan "Don" Pyke (born 5 December 1968) is a former Australian rules footballer who is the senior coach of the Adelaide Football Club.[1]

The son of Frank Pyke, who had also played senior football, Pyke was born in the United States, but his family soon returned to Australia, settling first in Perth and then in Canberra, where he played representative football and cricket for the Australian Capital Territory. Pyke was recruited by Claremont in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) for the 1987 season, playing in a premiership in his first season and winning the club's best and fairest award in his second season. This led to his recruitment by West Coast, who selected him prior to the 1988 National Draft. Pyke spent eight seasons at the club, playing in premiership sides in both 1992 and 1994, and sharing the Club Champion Award with Glen Jakovich in 1993. He finished his AFL career with 132 games and 97 goals.

After retiring from playing, Pyke was appointed Claremont's senior coach, serving for two seasons from 1999 to 2000, and also spent time as an assistant coach at Adelaide and in administrative roles at West Coast, including a period on the board of directors. After Adam Simpson replaced John Worsfold as West Coast's senior coach at the end of the 2013 season, he rejoined the club as a strategy coach. Pyke was appointed senior coach of Adelaide in October 2015, replacing the deceased Phil Walsh.

Playing career[edit]

Pyke was born to Frank Pyke and his wife, Janet, on 5 December 1968, in Bloomington, Illinois. His father, who had previously played for Perth in the WAFL, was teaching at Illinois State University, having moved to the United States in 1966 to attend Indiana University.[2] Pyke's other brothers, Stephen and James Pyke, who later played cricket for South Australia, had been born in Australia. Pyke and his family returned to Western Australia in 1972, after his father accepted a role at the University of Western Australia. The family again moved in 1977, to Canberra, where his father had accepted a role as Head of the Centre for Sports Studies at the University of Canberra. Pyke excelled at junior level at both football and cricket, playing for the Belconnen Football Club and representing the ACT cricket team at under-16 and under-19 level.[3]

Pyke was recruited by the Claremont Football Club for the 1987 season, and played in the club's premiership win over Subiaco. He also represented the Western Australia under-19 cricket team in two matches at the 1987–88 Australian Under-19 Championships, playing alongside future Test cricketers Brendan Julian and Alan Mullally.[4] After winning Claremont's best and fairest award (the E. B. Cook Medal) in 1988, playing mainly as an attacking rover, Pyke was recruited by the West Coast Eagles with a pre-draft selection in the 1988 VFL Draft. He was one of five pre-draft selections, with the others including future premiership players Peter Sumich, Craig Turley, and Scott Watters.

Making his debut in round one of the 1989 season, against Essendon at the WACA Ground, Pyke played 16 consecutive games before being dropped after a nine-possession game in round 16 against Sydney. Due to injury and poor form, he only played four games in the 1990 season, under new coach Mick Malthouse. In the round two game against St Kilda, Pyke kicked three goals, a career high.[5] Pyke was later developed into a player more renowned for his defensive skills. He was a member of the Eagles' Grand Final-losing side and played in both the 1992 and 1994 premiership sides. Pyke was knocked out by Gary Ablett in the early stages of the 1992 grand final, but returned to play an important role in the win. Playing mainly as a tagger, he tied with Glen Jakovich for the 1993 Club Champion Award, also earning seven Brownlow Medal votes, and was runner-up in the best and fairest to Jakovich the next year.[6] A shoulder injury forced his premature retirement from playing in 1996, although he returned to play in Claremont's 1996 premiership side.[7]

Coaching career[edit]

In October 2015, Pyke was appointed as the head coach of the Adelaide Crows.[8] The Crows made the semi-finals in his first season as coach but were defeated by the Sydney Swans.

Coaching statistics[edit]

Statistics are correct to the end of Round 12 2017 season[9]
 W  Wins  L  Losses  D  Draws  W%  Winning percentage  LP  Ladder position  LT  League teams
Season Team Games W L D W % LP LT
2016 Adelaide 24 17 7 0 70.8% 5 18
Career totals 24 17 7 0 70.8%

Post-playing career[edit]

After his retirement, Pyke continued his involvement with the Eagles, serving as team runner in 1997 and 1998. In 1999, Pyke became the senior coach of the Claremont until his resignation in 2000. He then became a director at West Coast for four years from 2001. In 2003, Pyke was rewarded for his contribution to the West Coast Eagles with life membership. In late 2004, Pyke resigned from the Eagles' board of directors to become an assistant coach to Neil Craig at Adelaide, whom he had previously interviewed for the Eagles' job.[10] In late 2006, Pyke resigned as Adelaide's assistant coach after two seasons to return to Western Australia, and concentrate on his business.[11] He has two daughters with his wife, Jodie. Pyke was named in West Coast's Team of the Decade, in 1996,[12] and Team 20, in 2006.[13] In October 2013, he was made an assistant coach at West Coast under the new senior coach Adam Simpson, specialising in "strategy, stoppages, and structure".[14]

On 9 October 2015, Pyke was appointed as the head coach of the Adelaide Football Club, succeeding the late Phil Walsh who was murdered midway through the 2015 AFL season.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Pyke named new Crows coach". Adelaide Crows. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  2. ^ Where are they now?: Frank Pyke – Posted 29 April 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  3. ^ Other matches played by Don Pyke[permanent dead link] – Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  4. ^ Victoria Under-19s v Western Australia Under-19s – Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  5. ^ St Kilda v West Coast – AFLTables. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  6. ^ Don Pyke player profile Archived 31 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. – Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  7. ^ Holmesby, Russell; Main, Jim (2003). The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers: every AFL/VFL player since 1897 (5th ed.). Melbourne, Victoria: Crown Content. p. 594. ISBN 1-74095-032-1.
  8. ^ Spits, Scott (9 October 2015). "Don Pyke appointed Adelaide senior coach". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 9 October 2015. 
  9. ^ "Don Pyke's coaching profile". AFL Tables. 
  10. ^ Don Pyke gets down to business with Crows training – Published 12 November 2004. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  11. ^ Don Pyke quits as Crows assistant coach – Published 29 September 2006. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  12. ^ Team of the Decade – Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  13. ^ Team 20 – Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  14. ^ Pyke rejoins West Coast – West Coast Eagles. Published 18 October 2013. Retrieved 18 October 2013.

External links[edit]