Gators to pay tribute to Tom Petty after 'We Are the Boys from Old Florida'


The Florida Gators will pay tribute to legendary rocker and Gainesville native Tom Petty during their homecoming game against LSU.

After fans sing and sway to "We Are the Boys from Old Florida", the stadium will then blast Petty's "I Won't Back Down" while fans still have arms locked.

"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 in a statement. "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 university says maybe it will become a tradition of its own.

"We encourage fans to sing along as a way to honor a local legend and share a special moment in his music,'' Alicia Longworth, assistant athletics director of marketing and promotions said in a statement. "Tom Petty is a beloved figure for so many Gator fans."

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 largest mass shooting in U.S. history. 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 in front of a lot of familiar faces from his days in Gainesville.

His final performance in his hometown was a much-anticipated show at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on Sept. 21, 2006, to commemorate the band's 30-year anniversary.

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