Australian Football

AustralianFootball.com Celebrating the history of the great Australian game

 

Key Facts

Full name
Donald Lachlan Pyke

Known as
Don Pyke

Born
5 December 1968 (age 53)

Place of birth
United States (Bloomington, Illinois)

Age at first & last AFL game
First game: 20y 116d
Last game: 27y 235d

Height and weight
Height: 178 cm
Weight: 78 kg

Senior clubs
Claremont; West Coast

Jumper numbers
West Coast: 1, 10

Recruited from
Claremont (1989)

State of origin
United States (Bloomington, Illinois)

Family links
Frank Pyke (Father)James Pyke (Brother)

Don Pyke

ClubLeagueCareer spanGamesGoalsAvgWin %AKIAHBAMKBV
ClaremontWASFL1987-1992, 199663901.43
West CoastV/AFL1989-1996132700.5364%13.114.702.9713
Total1987-19961951600.82

AFL: 9,991st player to appear, 1,618th most games played, 1,533rd most goals kickedWest Coast: 45th player to appear, 53rd most games played, 48th most goals kicked

Born in the United States, while his father, former Perth star Frank Pyke, was studying there, Don Pyke commenced his league career with Claremont in 1987, the year that the Western Australian football landscape changed forever with the admission of the Perth-based West Coast Eagles to the VFL. Pyke himself would soon have a measurable impact on Australian football elite competition, but not before providing Claremont with sterling service over 54 games which included the victorious 1987 and 1989 Grand Finals. After playing the last of his 132 League games with West Coast in 1996, Pyke rounded off his career in style by returning home and featuring prominently in Claremont's two-point Grand Final victory over East Perth, following which he retired.

Not blessed with a superabundance of pace or the classical poise and ball handling skills of team mates like Chris Lewis and Peter Matera, Pyke was nevertheless at least as important to the Eagles as those players by virtue of his consistency, as well as his ability to make light of pressure and duress, and get and use the ball effectively, time and time again. At his peak during the period between 1991 and 1994, Pyke was a prominent member of the Eagles engine room during their 1992 and 1994 premiership wins, and was voted club champion in 1993. He had earlier, in 1988, been accorded the same honour at Claremont.

In 1999 Don Pyke returned to Claremont as senior coach, but after two seasons of modest success he was replaced by Mark Riley. He nonetheless continued his involvement in the game as an assistant coach at the Adelaide Crows, and through various administrative and specialist roles at the West Coast Eagles. 

After the tragic sudden death of Phil Walsh in 2015, Pyke was given the role of head coach at Adelaide prior to the 2016 season, taking the Crows into the semi finals in his first year at the helm, before steering the club into its first Grand Final appearance in almost two decades in 2017. A couple of mediocre seasons followed which precipitated his dismissal.

Author - John Devaney with updates by Andrew Gigacz

Sources

Full Points Footy's WA Football Companion

Footnotes

* Behinds calculated from the 1965 season on.
+ Score at the end of extra time.