Fiesta Bowl Names Dr. Robert N. Shelton as Executive Director


June 13, 2011
Contact: Andrew Bagnato

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Fiesta Bowl announced today that University of Arizona President Dr. Robert Shelton has been named Executive Director.

A native of Arizona, Shelton has been closely involved with college football as a member of the prestigious BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, which is integral to BCS governance. 

Shelton will oversee the community-based Fiesta Bowl organization and its Festival of College Football, including the annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and more than 40 statewide events.

“We are so fortunate that someone of Dr. Shelton’s caliber has chosen to lead our organization,” said Duane Woods, Fiesta Bowl Chairman of the Board. “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. 

“His experience at the highest level of the BCS, coupled with his love for the state of Arizona, makes him the ideal leader as we move forward,” Woods said. “The Bowl has come through some difficult times, but with Dr. Shelton at the helm we believe our future is bright.”

The 62-year-old Shelton has agreed to a 4-year contract with a base salary of $455,000 and various incentives. He will take office on August 1, 2011. 

Shelton, a physicist by training, has spent his career in higher education. He came to the University of Arizona in 2006 and guided the University dealt to extraordinary academic success despite massive state budget cuts.

“The Fiesta Bowl is an Arizona treasure, and as a native Arizonan I am excited about the opportunity to lead this wonderful organization,” Shelton said. “I have spent my entire career in higher education and I care passionately about UA. But there always comes a point in life where you feel that it is time to try something new. I am looking forward to helping the Bowl rebuild and achieve even greater heights.”

Shelton’s hiring drew an enthusiastic endorsement from leaders of the Bowl Championship Series, as well as the Big 12 Conference, which sends its champion to the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

“This is an excellent choice,” BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said. “Robert is a man of integrity and his university experience means he understands what college football is all about.  This is a smart hire by the Fiesta Bowl.”

Penn State University President Graham Spanier, chairman of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, added, “I commend the Fiesta Bowl on its choice of one of the most widely respected leaders in higher education.  Robert Shelton is an experienced leader known for his integrity and respect for the collegiate environment.”

Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe also praised the decision. “Robert Shelton has an outstanding reputation in college athletics,” Beebe said. “The Big 12 congratulates the Fiesta Bowl on this hire, and we look forward to working with Robert for a long time.”

Shelton and his wife, Adrian A. Shelton, have three adult children: Christian Shelton, an associate professor of computer science at UC-Riverside; Cameron Shelton, an assistant professor of economics at Claremont McKenna College; and Stephanie Shelton, who is in pediatric medicine residency at Oregon Health Sciences University.

About Fiesta Bowl

The Fiesta Bowl is a non-profit organization founded by Arizona community leaders in 1971. Through the creation of the Festival of College Football, which is inclusive of more than 40 statewide events, the annual Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, the organization continues to promote volunteerism, athletic achievement and higher education. The Fiesta Bowl has hosted seven games that have decided the college football national championship, including four Bowl Championship Series title games. This season, the Fiesta Bowl and its 2,900 volunteers will host the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. For more information visit