The University Athletic Association will honor Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Tom Petty, who died Monday, at Saturday’s LSU-Florida Homecoming game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
Petty, a Gainesville native who once worked as a groundskeeper at UF as he tried to make it in music, died of cardiac arrest at 66 years of age.
At the end of the third quarter, after the UF band plays “We Are the Boys from Old Florida” and fans lock arms and sway as they sing the UF spirit song, Petty’s famous tune “I Won’t Back Down” will blast across Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to honor the local legend treasured by Gator Nation and far beyond.
“Let’s celebrate together what he meant to the world of music and what he meant to this community,” Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said. “Since we are already singing ‘We are the Boys,’ let’s go right from that into one of his great anthems and make that the way we are going to jointly celebrate Tom Petty and the Gators.”
The Gators will also have a moment of silence prior to the game for the victims of the tragic events in Las Vegas on Sunday night that cost 58 people their lives. The moment of silence is scheduled between the Pledge of Allegiance and playing of the National Anthem.
Petty played on the UF campus twice in the last 25 years after becoming an international star who sold more than 80 million records during his career, performing in 1993 and 2006.