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Volume 24 No. 159

People and Pop Culture

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).

The Colts named Vikings assistant coach DENNIS POLIAN Dir of Football Administration and NFL Giants Assistant Dir of Communications AVIS ROPER Senior Dir of Communications. The team also named Syracuse Univ. Video Coordinator ERIC KUNTTU Video Dir, replacing MARTY HECKSCHER, who is retiring. Colts VP/PR CRAIG KELLEY "has been reassigned" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 6/14).  

NAMES: Front Row Marketing Services named the following: GABE LEIBOWITZ Dir of Corporate Partnerships for Temple Univ. athletics and the Liacouras Center; JENNIFER FOX Dir of Corporate Partnerships for the AHL Adirondack Phantoms; ROB MAINVILLE Corporate Sales Rep for the AHL Portland Pirates; JOSH GENTILE Dir of Premium Sales for the Sun National Bank Center; and NINO VANIN Dir of Corporate Partnerships for Drexel Univ. athletics (Front Row Marketing)....Zelo PR named SCA Promotions Sports Marketing Dir CARLA ROSENBERG Pro Sports & Entertainment Division Senior VP (Zelo PR)....Seattle Univ. named ERIN ENGELHARDT Assistant AD for Student-Athlete Support, effective July 1. She held a similar position at the school from July '06-August '10, when she moved to the College of Arts & Sciences as an academic advisor (Seattle Univ.)....Ludus Tours named UFL and Virginia Destroyers Senior VP BRIAN MELEKIAN VP/Operations & Strategy (Ludus Tours). 

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In Denver, John Ingold noted nine former Broncos players who filed for workers' compensation in California in '08 have "become entangled in a federal lawsuit by an insurance company that says it shouldn't have to pay." The suit was filed last week in U.S. District Court in Denver, and it "names the Broncos organization as a defendant" along with the nine players. California law is "unique in that it allows for professional athletes to file workers' compensation claims in the state even if they never played for California-based teams" (DENVER POST, 6/13).

: In Raleigh, Chip Alexander noted Seventeen Magazine has launched a contest that lets fans "vote on what suit" Hurricanes C JEFF SKINNER will wear to the NHL Awards Show this month in Las Vegas. The magazine "invited Skinner to New York and photographed him in three different suits, courtesy of the JOHN VARVATOS JV Star USA line, offering three distinct looks" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/11).

NAMES: Former Ohio State Univ. QB TERRELLE PRYOR yesterday signed with NFL player agent DREW ROSENHAUS. Former Pryor attorney LARRY JAMES said that he has "officially passed Pryor off to Rosenhaus" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 6/14)....N.Y. Mayor MICHAEL BLOOMBERG and Yankees 1B MARK TEIXEIRA yesterday outlined "plans to build an $85 million, 13-story building that will house a charter school and affordable-housing units." Taxpayers "will fund more than $60 million of the project," and Harlem RBI is "raising $20 million in private donations." Teixeira, the co-Chair of Harlem RBI's capital campaign, "has donated $1 million" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 6/14)....Former Cheboygan County (Mich.) Drain Commissioner DENNIS LENNOX said that he is "working to recruit an unnamed ex-Detroit Red Wing" to run against U.S. Sen. DEBBIE STABENOW (D-Mich.) next year. Lennox "won't say who the former hockey player is, though he did say the prospective candidate is a Canadian-born U.S. citizen not named STEVE YZERMAN" (, 6/13)....The Dolphins raised "over $600,000 for their foundation" at this past weekend's FinsWeekend event, which featured "celebrity fishing and golfing tournaments." The proceeds will "go toward providing and supporting signature education, health, youth athletic programs and volunteer activities" (, 6/13)....Jets coach REX RYAN recently was seen filming a scene for the movie "I HATE YOU, DAD" in Swampscott, Mass., with actor ADAM SANDLER (BOSTON HERALD, 6/14).

IN MEMORY: Montreal-based Reuters photographer SHAUN BEST "died Saturday night, apparently of a heart attack," at the age of 43. Best "had just finished dinner with other photographers covering the Canadian Grand Prix and was driving home with his longtime partner," Montreal Gazette Copy Editor DENISE DUGUAY, "when he had the attack" (Montreal GAZETTE, 6/13).