Don Pyke, Adelaide Crows chairman Rob Chapman and CEO Andrew Fagan talk to media about Pyke's decision to step down as senior coach. Picture: Emma Brasier/AAP
Don Pyke, Adelaide Crows chairman Rob Chapman and CEO Andrew Fagan talk to media about Pyke's decision to step down as senior coach. Picture: Emma Brasier/AAP

Concerns for ex-Crows coach's mental health revealed

AFL Coaches Association boss Mark Brayshaw has revealed his concerns for the mental wellbeing of former Adelaide Crows coach Don Pyke following his departure from West Lakes last year.

Brayshaw said Pyke and his family were "chewed up and spat out" by the ruthless AFL system, and described the departures of all five AFL coaches who quit or were sacked last year as "nasty".

"When (Pyke) talked about lack of contentment on his way out at Adelaide, that was a real moment for me," Brayshaw said.

"And to think that the game, which is the biggest in town, and all the coaches love their job and say the next best thing to playing is coaching.

"Here's Pykey at the top of the ladder a year or two ago in the grand final, leaving on the basis that contentment was at risk and that his family wasn't enjoying it.

"It's horrible."

Brayshaw said the AFLCA was adding programs to assist coaches transition into other areas of football, something he believed Pyke was well equipped for.

Pyke was feeling disillusioned before his departure. Picture: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images
Pyke was feeling disillusioned before his departure. Picture: Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images

"He's a different man than he was six months ago and he's unsurprisingly reflecting on his experience, getting feedback and navigating the pathway forward," Brayshaw told SEN.

"It wouldn't surprise me at all if he wound up as a CEO down the track. He's very well educated and got a lot to offer.

"But it chewed him up and his family and spat him out.

"It looks like it got a bit nasty over the last little while with some of the senior coaches.

"We were preening ourselves two years ago when for the first time in 13 years there was no coach that left.

"And then five. And in each case it was more than a little bit nasty.

"If you're a partner or a son or a daughter of a coach on the way out, not to mention the guy himself it was really bad."



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