Near this site on the evening of October 3, 1926, John "Button" Salmon, student body president and quarterback of the University of Arizona football team, was critically injured in a car accident while returning from a weekend in Phoenix with two classmates.
The day before his death on October 18, he was visited in the hospital in Tucson by head coach J.F. "Pop" McKale, who asked him if he had a message for the team, Salmon told McKale: "Tell them?tell the team to bear down."
Following his funeral and internment in Evergreen Cemetery in Tucson on October 20, the team traveled to Las Cruses, N.M., for a game against New Mexico A&M. In the locker room prior to the game, McKale told the team about Salmon's dying words. The Wildcats then went out and won a hard-fought 7-0 victory.
Within a short time, Salmon's exhortation to "bear down" became a rallying cry for Wildcat teams and University of Arizona students and alumni everywhere. It remains to this day as one of the nation's most enduring college athletics traditions.