University of Arizona
Shelton resigning to take Fiesta Bowl job
After five years, University of Arizona President Robert Shelton will step down to become the head of the Fiesta Bowl, he announced Monday.
Shelton's resignation had been widely rumored over the past week.
"This was probably the most difficult decision I've ever had to make," Shelton said in a press release.
"I have spent my entire career in higher education, and I care passionately about the UA. But there always comes a point in life where you feel that it is time to try something new."
Shelton, who has been dealing with a Legislature unhappy with the UA's operation of its medical school, will take over another organization that's run into political trouble.
The Fiesta Bowl has been at the center of a scandal involving allegations of illegal campaign contributions to state lawmakers and extravagant spending.
Shelton, 62, is set to become the executive director of the college football bowl game on Aug. 1. As UA president, he has been a member of the presidential oversight committee for the Bowl Championship Series. The Fiesta Bowl is part of the BCS system.
The UA president's tenure at his current post has been complicated by state budget cuts that have forced tuition increases and program cuts.
"After a lot of conversation with my wife, Adrian, we felt that this was the right time for us to take on an exciting new challenge, and a good time to bring a fresh perspective to the leadership of the University," Shelton said.
"Most people recognize that the Fiesta Bowl brings thousands of people to our state for two prominent football bowl games – the Fiesta Bowl and the Insight Bowl," Shelton said."But many are less aware that the organization is one of Arizona’s most successful charitable enterprises, supporting dozens of local organizations and sponsoring numerous events throughout the year."
"I have been enormously impressed with the commitment of the Fiesta Bowl board, and believe that I am joining the organization at a time when we can make big strides in expanding the impact of their important work," Shelton said.
Shelton was hired by the UA in 2006. He has been paid $470,000 annually plus benefits. At the Fiesta Bowl, he will be paid $455,000 plus bonuses to replace the fired John Junker, who was paid $592,000.
"We are so fortunate that someone of Dr. Shelton's caliber has chosen to lead our organization," said the chairman of the Fiesta Bowl, Duane Woods, in a release.
"While we had an amazing number of talented applicants for this position, Dr. Shelton's impeccable record of integrity and his vast knowledge of collegiate academics and athletics are perfectly suited to restore trust and credibility with our volunteers, staff, community and key partners," Woods said.
"The Bowl has come through some difficult times, but with Dr. Shelton at the helm we believe our future is bright," Woods said.
Saying he was "sad to see Dr. Shelton leave UA," university athletic director Greg Byrne called the outgoing president "a wonderful boss and very supportive" in a Facebook post.
Shelton was congratulated on his new job by Gov. Jan Brewer.
Shelton "provided consistent leadership to the U of A and been a steady hand on the wheel during difficult economic and budgetary times. The Fiesta Bowl faces challenges of its own. I am confident that Dr. Shelton can be an asset in delivering his collegiate expertise, leadership and managerial skills to this important Arizona institution," Brewer said in a release.
The state Board of Regents is expected to name a temporary replacement for Shelton, and organize a nationwide search for a new UA president.