The confidence and drive you’ll find today in Seth Buresh ’22 took time to develop.
“All four of my older brothers came to Wabash and played football,” said Seth, a religion major and music minor from Holland, Michigan.
“They were all good, and two of them were really good and played a lot as freshmen and sophomores,” Seth said. “Coming in I felt a lot of pressure and put all these expectations on myself that I needed to be like them. I felt like I wasn’t going to be good enough unless I got a spot starting on defense as a freshman. Because I was a Buresh, that was the expectation.”
During his first two years at Wabash, the defensive lineman remembers struggling. Because of his last name, Seth felt like expectations were high on how he should perform on the field, and whether he’d be able to follow in the footsteps of brothers Tyler ’12, Cody ’15, Ethan ’17, and Dylan ’18.
Olmy Olmstead ’04, the Little Giants assistant football coach, remembers Seth being the hardest of all the Buresh brothers to recruit to Wabash.
“Seth was recruited when he was a sophomore in high school. We usually don’t begin the process that early, but there was a family history and he’d always came around to watch his older brothers play,” Olmstead recalls. “We knew he would be a priority for us.
“Frankly, he didn’t make recruiting easy,” he said. “Seth was reluctant about Wabash for a while for multiple reasons, the biggest being the pressure and expectations that came with his last name.”
Olmstead said Seth had the grades, talent, and athletic abilities to pursue other schools where “he could make his own way,” but in the end he chose Wabash.
“Seeing who my brothers were when they came to Wabash, and who they grew to be as men really factored into my decision to come here,” Seth said. “I wanted those same opportunities.”
Seth had a successful freshman year on the football team, playing as a linebacker alongside his brother, Dylan. He recorded his first collegiate sack in 2017 against Kenyon College, helping the Little Giants secure a 35-6 victory.
Seth was looking forward to year two, but a season-ending ACL injury left him sidelined.
“I was devastated,” Seth said. “Not being able to play, I felt like I didn’t know who I was. I used to be this football player, a Buresh. I felt like it was over.”
Olmstead said he remembers witnessing how the pressure Seth placed on himself coming in, in addition to the injury he suffered, “really piled on top of him” early in his Wabash career.
While the injury left Seth physically and emotionally hurt, looking back now he said it was “a blessing in disguise.”
During his recovery, Seth spent a lot of time reflecting and having conversations about life with his mentors on campus and back at home. He said those talks helped him discover his own path in life.
One moment during his sophomore year sticks out in his memory.
“I remember walking out of the Allen Center, really bogged down and Coach Olmstead caught me and asked, ‘What’s going on?’ I got to talking about how my brothers were these beasts, and how I felt not being able to play.
“Coach looked at me and said, ‘You know, your brothers weren’t beasts as much as you think they were,’” Seth said with a chuckle. “He said, ‘Yes, they were good, but they had some of their own flaws too, just like every other player. And you don’t have to be exactly like them. You’re your own person.’”
Over the last several years, the senior has also grown in his faith. He’s learned more about his relationship with God and discovered his own identity along the way.
“My pastor and other close friends really poured into me that my identity is that I’m a son of God. Nothing else matters, and nothing else can affect that truth,” Seth said. “It doesn’t matter if I can’t walk or I can’t play a sport that I love. It doesn’t matter what my physical abilities, talents, skills or anything like that are. My purpose is to glorify God, and I can do that regardless of the circumstances.”
Seth wrapped up his last season playing for the Little Giants by being named one of 13 members of the football team to receive All-North Coast Athletic Conference honors.
He led Wabash with 10-1/2 tackles for loss (-39 yards) and eight sacks (-37 yards). His eight sacks ranked third among NCAC defensive players while his 10-1/2 tackles for loss were eighth-best in the conference. He ended his career with 18-1/2 sacks (-123 yards) to rank 14th on the Wabash career sacks list.
Head Football Coach Don Morel said he’s proud of Seth’s personal and athletic growth.
“Everything he does, it’s all for and about God. It’s not normally what you think of when you hear about a standout defensive lineman who comes from a family of other standout lineman,” Morel said. “The word is authentic — he is the most authentic human being I’ve ever coached.
“The players know what Seth’s all about. He lives it every day,” Morel said. “No matter how tough or hard things get, you won’t hear a foul word out of his mouth or negativity, ever. He pulls from his own experiences, and pushes his teammates to be better.”
Olmstead describes the senior as an influencer. On and off the field, he said Seth stands out as a strong, fierce competitor and gentlemen. He’s goal-oriented, priority-driven, and puts his all into everything he does.
“He makes me so proud to be his coach,” Olmstead added. “It’s very rewarding to see a guy who struggled early in his career here begin to piece it together, figure it out, and lead by example like Seth has done.”
“I don’t know very many people who do the right thing, all the time, no matter what the situation or setting may be, but Seth does. That’s who he is. He’s admirable from a coach-to-player prospective, and man-to-man.”