Decorated coach departs state role, recommits to Strikers

Two-time WBBL championship coach Luke Williams takes on new role at Adelaide Strikers after stepping away from South Australia women's role

South Australia have lost their second head coach in a week with Luke Williams to step down from leading the state's Women's National Cricket League side to focus on his T20 roles.

Williams, who was appointed SA and Adelaide Strikers women's head coach in 2019, will continue leading the Weber WBBL squad after securing to back-to-back Big Bash championships last December.

The 44-year-old has also signed a new three-year deal to take on the role as Strikers men's assistant coach, keeping him with the SACA until at least the end of KFC BBL|16 and WBBL|12.

Williams has a burgeoning reputation as an outstanding short-format coach.

Last month, he won the Women's Premier League title in his first season in charge of Royal Challengers Bengaluru, while he was also part of the Southern Brave's coaching panel when they won the women's Hundred last year.

Williams led the SA women's team for five seasons after being appointed head coach in 2019 // Getty

But it was those WPL commitments that forced him to miss the final two matches of SA's WNCL campaign, with assistant coach Nicole Bolton stepping in to lead the side in her first season in the role. Bolton now appears the frontrunner to replace Williams as the state's women's coach.

Relinquishing the WNCL role will allow Williams to pursue other overseas coaching opportunities throughout the year.

"I have loved my time coaching these incredible women and I have no doubt they will continue to do remarkable things in the future under new leadership," he said.

"While stepping away from my role as head coach of the South Australia women's team, I am thrilled to remain involved in the women's program and support their success in a different capacity.

Williams lifts the WBBL|09 trophy with Strikers captain Tahlia McGrath // Getty

"I'm excited to be taking on a dual role, continuing as head coach of the WBBL Strikers and embarking on a new journey with the BBL Strikers.

"I'm incredibly grateful to SACA for their continued support, which also allows me to pursue my international coaching commitments."

The former Redbacks opener played five Sheffield Shield matches for the state between 2001 and 2005 and finishes his five seasons at the helm of the WNCL side with 22 wins from 48 matches, going down twice in the final to Tasmania in 2021-22 and '22-23.

But it was in the WBBL where Williams has turned the club's fortunes around, rebounding from a sixth-place finish in the season before he took charge to runners-up in his first.

He led the side to another runners-up placing in '21-22 before they won their maiden WBBL title in '22-23 and backed it up with their second crown last summer.

Williams' decision to stand down from the state role comes after Jason Gillespie resigned as head coach of both the SA and Strikers men's teams last week.

The SACA announced yesterday fellow former Australian quick Ryan Harris has been appointed interim head coach while they search for a permanent replacement.

Nathan McSweeney will captain South Australia in 2024-25 // Getty

Emerging batter Nathan McSweeney was today appointed South Australia's new men's captain for next season, taking over Jake Lehmann who stood in for Australian star Travis Head last summer.

The 25-year-old has been earmarked as a future leader in Australian cricket having captained Australia A and the Prime Minister's XI over the past 12 months, as well as leading Brisbane Heat to their BBL|13 triumph in January.

South Australia are also in the market for a high performance general manager after parting ways with Tim Nielsen at the end of the Sheffield Shield season.