COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson is taking a six-month sabbatical.

Anderson made the announcement Monday in a statement on the school's website , saying he will be on a "professional development sabbatical."

Damon Evans, the executive director, chief financial officer and chief operating officer of the athletics department, will fill in for Anderson during his absence.

Anderson said the university granted him an opportunity to retain his post as athletic director while engaging in "various projects focusing on leadership development."

The 62-year-old Anderson said he will continue to participate on certain NCAA committees.

Anderson took over for Debbie Yow in September 2010 after a six-year stint as athletic director at the U.S. Military Academy.

Under his watch, Maryland joined the Big Ten on July 1, 2014. The move from the Atlantic Coast Conference provided the school with financial stability and translated to success on the playing field.

Maryland has won a conference-best 25 regular-season and conference tournament titles since the move.

In its inaugural season in the Big Ten, Maryland increased its season ticket sales in football 25 percent from 2013 and 35 percent from 2012.

Anderson oversaw the hiring of basketball coach Mark Turgeon and football coach DJ Durkin. Turgeon has guided the Terrapins to two straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and Durkin took Maryland to a bowl game in his first season last year.

Anderson also was responsible for the firing of popular football coach Ralph Friedgen in 2010. He hired Randy Edsall from Connecticut as Friedgen's replacement and subsequently fired Edsall in the middle of the 2015 season after the Terrapins went 22-34 under his direction.

From January 2003 to December 2004, Anderson was the executive associate athletics director at Oregon State. He was responsible for the administration and operation of seven sports, including football, men's basketball and women's basketball.

Before that, Anderson spent five seasons in the athletic department of the University of California, Berkeley.

Evans joined the university in 2014. Since then, he has overseen the day-to-day operations of the athletic department, its finances and compliance functions along with other key areas. Evans will report directly to university President Wallace D. Loh.