Not many know that Adelaide Crows Don Pyke was born in the United States, Bloomington Illinois to be exact. Bloomington is the middle of the state, adjacent to a city with the unique name of Normal.
The Pyke family did not stay there for long. They settle first in Perth before moving to Canberra. Don Pyke’s dad Frank played representative footy and cricket for the Australian Capital Territory.
Don Pyke played in the WAFL in 1987 for Claremont, where he played in the premiership his first season, and then was named his club’s best and fairest in the succeeding season.
He went on to spend eight seasons with the West Coast Eagles and was part of the sides that went to the grand final in 1992, where the Eagles beat the Geelong Cats to take the flag, and in 1994, when they again skinned the Cats by the score of 143 – 63.
Pyke played 132 games over the course of eight seasons, enjoying his best year in 1994 when he racked up over 500 disposals and was on the ground for all 25 of the Eagles’ games.
He paid a lot of dues after his playing days were over, serving as team runner for West Coast for several years. He went back to his Claremont side as the senior coach until 2000, followed by four years as a West Coast director.
He took a position with Adelaide in 2004, where he served for two seasons before leaving the footy business to pursue other interests.
He was named to the head coaching position of the Crows in October of 2015, taking over in tragic circumstance following the murder of Coach Phil Walsh.
In 2015, the Crows made it to the semi-finals, where they lost to the Sydney Swans. The Crows were at or near the top in percentage in 2016 and in 2017; Pyke took them to the Grand Final, where they had to face a hostile MCG crowd packed with Richmond Tigers supporters, where the Crows came up empty after sitting atop the ladder for the entire season.