The Fiesta Bowl wants to move on. It needs to move on. It has to move on.
The bowl organization took a major step in that direction Tuesday when Dr. Robert Shelton was announced as the new executive director, replacing the disgraced John Junker.
Fiesta Bowl Chairman of the Board Duane Woods was pleased with how the search, which included more than 150 applicants, ended up.
“I’m pleased and could not be more excited than to have today to announce Robert as our new executive director,” he said.
Shelton comes to the Fiesta Bowl from the University of Arizona, where he served as president since 2006. The decision to leave Tucson was not one he took lightly, but said was made in the name of seeking a new challenge.
And a challenge he has.
The scandal that rocked the organization only months ago is still fresh in peoples’ minds, and Shelton understands the damage won’t be immediately repaired. But, he’s ready to start working towards that goal.
“I think there are a number of steps that can be taken,” he said. “I think the fact – and this will sound immodest – I think the fact that they have reached out to somebody who is from college athletics, from university life, who knows and understands the appropriate role of athletics and the bowls that are associated with it is the right first step.”
Shelton, who said he feels the problems were due to individuals feeling like they were more important than the bowl, did not want to look back so much as 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,” he said.