Gillespie steps down as Redbacks, Strikers coach

Former Test quick will leave his role as South Australia and Adelaide Strikers men's head coach a year early

Jason Gillespie has resigned from his role as South Australia and Adelaide Strikers men's head coach after another disappointing season where the Redbacks finished in the bottom half of the Marsh Sheffield Shield standings for the fourth time in his four years at the helm. 

The former Australian quick still had another season to run on a two-year extension he signed in December 2022, but has decided to leave his post early after his Redbacks side finished the 2023-24 domestic season fifth in the Shield with three wins and last in the Marsh One-Day Cup with one win.

SACA declined to comment on reports published tonight by News Corp linking Gillespie to a coaching vacancy with the Pakistan Cricket Board.

Gillespie's departure is the second major change to the SACA high performance department in recent weeks after it was announced general manager Tim Nielsen would also finish up at the end of the season.

Gillespie, who represented Australia 169 times and the Redbacks 115 across an illustrious 13-year career, will also depart his role with the Strikers – which he had held since 2015 – after taking the club to the Challenger final in KFC BBL|13.

Gillespie led the Strikers for nine seasons, including to their maiden championship in BBL|07, with the club qualifying for the finals six times during his tenure.

The 48-year-old was appointed to lead the Redbacks at in August 2020, joining after a three-year stint coaching English county side Sussex. He had previously led Yorkshire to consecutive division one titles in 2014 and 2015. 

He replaced Jamie Siddons as SA head coach after he oversaw three straight bottom of the table finishes in the Sheffield Shield. 

But Gillespie wouldn't fare any better with two last-placed finishes in his first two seasons in charge, the Redbacks going winless in the Shield in 2020-21 before breaking a 17-match streak without a victory in their final fixture of the 2021-22 campaign.

Gillespie speaks with Redbacks captain and Australia batter Travis Head // Getty

Gillispie's side have continued to improve in the two years since, securing two wins to finish fourth last season and three wins this summer to finish fifth.

Alongside assistant coach Ryan Harris, Gillespie had built a strong fast bowling contingent with the likes of Spencer Johnson, Nathan McAndrew, Jordan Buckingham, Wes Agar and Henry Thornton all called up for representative honours during his tenure, while emerging top-order batter Nathan McSweeney continues to impress.   

Despite continual improvement across Gillespie's four seasons, the Redbacks could only muster six wins in 36 Shield matches and six wins in 25 Marsh Cup matches during his time in charge.

Every wicket: McAndrew leads SA attack with huge season

"I am incredibly proud of what we achieved together at the SACA, and I will always cherish those memories," said Gillespie, who will finish up in his roles with SACA at the end of June.

"I have no doubt that South Australian cricket has a bright future.

"To be able to play and coach in my home state has been a wonderful experience, something I feel honoured to have achieved.

"Looking forward, I am excited to explore new opportunities in the sport and pursue the next chapter in my career."

The SACA will now commence an extensive search for a new men's head coach to run alongside their "thorough and exhaustive process" in partnership with global executive search firm Elevate Talent to replace Nielsen. 

"We are hungry for success both on and off the field and are excited about the opportunity to drive our performances forward with fresh vision," SACA President Will Rayner said last month.

Rayner added that Gillespie would always be considered as one of the legends of South Australian cricket.

"We are extremely grateful for the dedication he has shown to South Australian cricket over a remarkably long period of time," he said. "He has been a genuine leader both on and off the field and we wish him every success in the future."

Gillespie's tenure at SA 

2023-24 – Sheffield Shield (5th: 3 wins, 1 drawn, 6 losses), Marsh Cup (6th: 1 win, 5 losses, 1 no result) 


2022-23 – Sheffield Shield (4th: 2 wins, 4 drawn, 4 losses), Marsh Cup (2nd: 4 wins, 3 losses) 


2021-22 – Sheffield Shield (6th: 1 win, 5 drawn, 3 losses), Marsh Cup (5th: 1 win, 4 losses, 1 no result) 


2020-21 – Sheffield Shield (6th: 0 wins, 4 drawn, 3 losses), Marsh Cup (6th: 0 wins, 5 losses)