University of Florida Designates LSU Game as First Inaugural Tom Petty Day

by Blake Ells
(Photo by Michael Putland/Getty Images)

Sunday marked the fifth anniversary of Tom Petty’s death. The legendary musician died on October 2, 2017 at the age of 66. He was born in Gainesville, Fla. on October 20, 1950. He became enamored with Elvis Presley when he was 10 years old, and he knew he wanted to be in a band when he saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. Those formative moments in his young life happened in the Sunshine State. When he was young, he worked on the grounds crew at his hometown University of Florida. He never attended the school, but he was always a Gator at heart. Even after he moved to California with Mike Campbell to form the Heartbreakers. Now, the home team will honor his legacy with a new annual event.

“To commemorate Tom’s life, the University of Florida in his hometown of Gainesville has designated this year’s UF x LSU game as the [first] inaugural Tom Petty Day on October 15. UF plans to celebrate Tom Petty Day for years to come,” the official Tom Petty Twitter account shared on Sunday.

The Tom Petty account followed it up with more news about how the school plans to celebrate the day.

“In honor of this, the Tom Petty Estate has collaborated with UF on a capsule collection to benefit local Gainesville charities. All Tom Petty Estate proceeds from the Tom Petty Day x Florida collection will benefit Kids Count and Family Promise,” the post read.

University of Florida to Honor Tom Petty

After Tom Petty’s death in 2017, it became tradition for University of Florida students to sing “Won’t Back Down” in unison. Check out video of the tradition below.

It’s a cool moment that served as an “unofficial” tribute for years. It’s nice to see the estate embrace his connection to the school.

There are likely numerous posthumous releases and announcements to come. The estate and everyone involved finally reached an agreement on how to proceed. A live album is on the way. Live at the Fillmore (1997) captures the final six performances of a 20-night residency that Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers had at the legendary venue. The announcement came with a preview of “Listen to Her Heart” from the collection.

“Playing the Fillmore in 1997 was one of my favorite experiences as a musician in my whole life,” Mike Campbell said. “The band was on fire and we changed the setlist every night. The room and the crowd was spiritual. And we got to play with some amazing guests. I will always remember those nights with joy and inspiration.”

The collection arrives on November 25, just in time for the holidays. It’s quite a collection.