Fiesta Bowl executive director Robert Shelton abruptly resigned Tuesday. The bowl made the announcement in a Tuesday morning press release.
The former University of Arizona president is becoming president of Research Corporation for Science Advancement in Tucson. Shelton told the Arizona Republic the decision was "mutual" between him and the bowl's board.
"I think this is a great transition point for the Fiesta Bowl," Shelton said in a press release. "I thank the Fiesta Bowl's 2,900 volunteers, including the Board of Directors, for the opportunity to help restore this wonderful community institution. I have truly enjoyed serving the organization during a difficult time and feel confident we have placed the organization in a solid position for the future."
Shelton was credited for getting the once-embattled bowl past the scandal involving former executive director John Junker and other officials at the bowl. He also deserves credit for getting the Fiesta Bowl into the College Football Playoff rotation at a time when the bowl's future was uncertain. He had been on the job since June 2011.
"Robert was engaged by the Board nearly three years ago to complete a transformation of the organization and to navigate through the new College Football Playoff and National Championship bids and negotiations," Fiesta Bowl Board Chairman Brian Hall said. "He was the ideal person at a crucial time in our history and we are deeply grateful for his contributions. He has done a tremendous job setting us up for the new playoff system and it is now the Board's job to take the lead in preparing our organization to best meet the future."
A national search for Shelton's replacement will begin immediately, the bowl said.