A lot of people were surprised when Lincoln Riley left Oklahoma to become the new head coach at USC. Count Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby among them.

During an appearance on SiriusXM Radio on Friday, Bowlsby shared his thoughts on Riley’s decision to leave the Sooners after having a ton of success with them over the past 5 seasons. Here’s what Bowlsby had to say (courtesy of Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger):

“Those were certainly surprises,” Bowlsby said. “Coach Riley had been mentioned in conjunction with the LSU position, and I really thought that there wasn’t much credence to that because I just, I know what a fine guy Lincoln Riley is. He’s an outstanding coach, obviously, but he’s a high-quality person and he is mature beyond his years. And so, you know, it was a little bit surprising that he jumped ship [for USC], but I wasn’t surprised that he wasn’t interested in the LSU position because culturally that’s just not what Lincoln Riley is. And I was frankly surprised by the Brian Kelly move.”

While Bowlsby was surprised by Kelly going to LSU, Tigers fans are likely happy about how things turned out, considering Kelly had plenty of success during his time at Notre Dame, and he could end up getting LSU back on track in the near future.

Even if Riley had stayed at Oklahoma, he wouldn’t have been in the Big 12 for much longer. The Sooners (along with Texas) are joining the SEC in 2025, meaning Bowlsby wouldn’t have had ties to Riley for the long-term future anyway.