The next step in University of Arizona President Robert Shelton’s career is to help move the Fiesta Bowl beyond the financial troubles it had earlier this year.
Shelton resigned his UA position Monday to take over as executive director at the bowl. His five-year tenure at the university featured troubles of its own, including managing decreased state revenues, increased tuition and new faces in the athletic department.
The Fiesta Bowl became the focus of public scrutiny and internal investigation earlier this year, when reports showed misspending and questionable political donations. The former executive director, John Junker, was fired in March as a result.
In a news conference Tuesday, Shelton said it’s time to move the bowl forward and improve it.
“It's clear to me that those troubles, and they are definitely serious, those troubles reflect a few individuals, they do not reflect the kind of folks you see around this room, the almost 3,000 volunteers, the incredible staff that worked so hard just a few months ago to put on three remarkable events and show the nation what Phoenix and the state of Arizona are made of,” Shelton said. “So what we have to do is look forward. We have to make sure that we remain accountable, and we will, but we have to look forward and understand how important this Fiesta Bowl is to all of us.”
The Arizona Board of Regents will likely appoint an interim replacement and then embark on a nationwide search for a permanent replacement, said Anne Mariucci, the board’s chairwoman.
Shelton’s move allows the regents to search for new leadership at the University of Arizona, while his skills and knowledge will continue to serve the state, Mariucci said.
Reporter Andrea Kelly discusses Shelton's plans with Arizona Illustrated host Tony Paniagua: