SBD/June 14, 2011/People and Pop Culture

Fiesta Bowl Hires Univ. of Arizona President Robert Shelton As Exec Dir

Shelton will begin his new position 
of Exec Dir on Aug. 1
The Fiesta Bowl yesterday “in a surprise move” hired Univ. of Arizona President ROBERT SHELTON as its new Exec Dir, according to Harris & Ryman of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. He replaces JOHN JUNKER, whom the bowl “fired in March after an internal investigation indicated that there was widespread corruption and excessive spending by bowl employees.” Shelton, who was “chosen from among 135 candidates,” agreed to a four-year deal and will begin his new position on Aug. 1. The Fiesta Bowl said that he will be “paid a base salary of $455,000, with incentives that could push his total compensation to about $620,000.” Shelton will “oversee the annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl along with the Insight Bowl and more than 40 statewide events.” He was part of the 12-member BCS Presidential Oversight Committee that “imposed a $1 million fine on the bowl in May for financial irregularities and for allowing employees to make potentially illegal campaign contributions.” His "strong relationship with key members" of the BCS is "expected to benefit the Fiesta Bowl as it works to stay in the four-year rotation to host a national-championship game." Harris & Rynam note Shelton's hiring “drew praise inside and outside Arizona.” BCS Exec Dir BILL HANCOCK said, "Robert is a man of integrity, and his university experience means he understands what college football is all about." Penn State Univ. President GRAHAM SPANIER, who serves as BCS Presidential Oversight Committee Chair, “commended the Fiesta Bowl, calling Shelton one of the most widely respected leaders in higher education” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 6/14).’s Ivan Maisel writes Shelton’s hiring is a “shrewd move.” Maisel: “Shelton knows the local area. As a university president, he arrives at the Fiesta Bowl with NCAA street cred. By hiring him, the bowl takes off the table any questions about what it intends for its future” (, 6/14). UA AD GREG BYRNE said that “after working with Shelton for over a year,” he has found him to “have ‘extremely strong ethics’ and strong communication skills.” Byrne: “They’re getting a very good leader” (ARIZONA DAILY STAR, 6/14).
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