ALL-Ireland winning manager Davy Fitzgerald swapped his tracksuit for a cap and gown, when the third level institute he helped turn into a hurling bastion bestowed him with its highest honour.
The Clare manager joined five others, including acclaimed artist John Shinnors, as they were made inaugural Fellows of Limerick Institute of Technology.
LIT's fellowship programme is described as the "ultimate recognition" for people associated with the institute. Fitzgerald has been associated with LIT for 12 years and most notably coached the Institute to its first Fitzgibbon Cup title in 2005 and followed it up with a second in 2007.
He continues to manage LIT's Fitzgibbon side, ably assisted by fellow GAA legend and selector Cyril Farrell, and led them this week into yet another quarter final of the blue riband colleges hurling competition.
Fitzgerald (42) said: "I think honours like these are normally for people who are further on in their career, and I hope they are not trying to give me a hint about retiring.
"Hurling has been brilliant to me and at management level I have been very fortunate to have coached sides to provincial and All-Ireland titles. But I will always look back at my time with LIT as where my intercounty coaching career really started, as that's the level that you get with Fitzgibbon.
"I have been privileged here to coach some of the finest hurlers of our generation, including the likes of Joe Canning of Galway, Tipperary's Eoin Kelly, Jackie Tyrell of Kilkenny, Eoin Cadogan and Kieran Murphy from Cork and many great hurlers from my own county."
Among those in attendance were members of his All-Ireland winning Clare squad, including Hurler of the Year and LIT student Tony Kelly. Speaking at the ceremony, LIT President Dr Maria Hinfelaar said the Fellows have a special place in the heart and history of LIT.