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Fiesta Bowl chief Shelton resigns

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Updated: 1/14 4:41 pm

Scottsdale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Robert Shelton, who took over the Fiesta Bowl less than three years ago after the previous executive director was fired amid federal fraud charges, has resigned.

Shelton was named to lead the bowl on June 13, 2011, three months after John Junker was fired when a task force uncovered, among other infractions, a scheme to reimburse improper political campaign contributions.

Junker pled guilty to a felony count of solicitation to commit fraud schemes in February 2012 and is still awaiting sentencing.

Shelton, who was president of the University of Arizona before taking over for Junker, said it's time for the Fiesta Bowl to make another transition.

He will become president of the Tucson-based Research Corporation for Science Advancement.

"I thank the Fiesta Bowl's 2,900 volunteers, including the board of directors, for the opportunity to help restore this wonderful community institution," Shelton said in a statement. "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."

Fiesta Bowl Board Chairman Brian Hall called Shelton "the ideal person at a crucial time in our history" and said the bowl is "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," said Hall.

Hall said a national search for Shelton's permanent replacement will begin immediately. Former board chairman and present board member Duane Woods will serve as interim executive director.

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