Throughout the new millennium, the Hudson boys lacrosse team saw its state-title hopes shattered by one Columbus-area squad after another.
A man who grew up in the state capital knows all about that Southern Ohio dominance.
He is now making his second home near Route 303.
For the first time in more than two decades, the Explorers will be heard by a different voice.
He is Upper Arlington graduate Brandon Schwind, who brings his lacrosse expertise to Summit County.
Schwind, who has coached both high school and collegiate players, enters his ninth year as a head coach and his sixth year as the boss on the high school level.
He joins Hudson with a stellar 116-41 overall record, which includes a 79-27 mark during his five-year tenure as a high school coach of both boys and girls teams in Michigan.
The Explorers won their only state title in 2011. They have come close a number of other times, but fell short against powerful Columbus-area squads in Upper Arlington, Worthington Kilbourne and Dublin Jerome.
Despite these heartbreaking setbacks, Hudson has won many regional championships in the 21st century.
Such a fact was not lost on Schwind.
"I grew up in Columbus and I remember those teams playing Hudson for a very long time," he said. "I’m definitely aware of the Hudson tradition. Having the title as head coach of Hudson means a lot to me."
Many former Explorers’ standouts certainly remember the agony of defeat against those powerful Southern Ohio programs.
These days, though, Hudson’s No. 1 nemesis is Cleveland St. Ignatius, which was the state runner-up for the second consecutive year last spring.
The Wildcats are a bit of a sore subject in the 44236 ZIP code since they ruthlessly ended the Explorers’ 2017 and 18 seasons.
St. Ignatius topped Hudson by a 12-11 score in last year’s Division I, Region 2 title match.
"They have tremendous talent," Schwind said of the Wildcats. "I’m definitely interested in carrying on the tradition, but for me, you’re only as good as your last game. Every year, I hit the reset button. We’re starting from ground zero."
In the past, the Explorers dazzled their fans and overwhelmed their opponents with a run-and-gun style that put astronomical numbers on the scoreboard.
Schwind certainly hopes his team can continue to light up the cage. But the veteran coach gets far more excited when the opponent needs a GPS to find the goal.
"I’m a big believer that defense wins championships, especially in high school," Schwind said. "We want to be fundamentally sound on defense.
"We also want to have an offense that scores a lot of goals. But we will definitely have a defense-first mentality. I’d much rather hold teams to less than seven goals."
Since Hudson was willing to be in full attack mode whenever it had the ball, some of its turnovers were brushed off or overlooked as long as they didn’t lead to disaster.
Such leniency will not be tolerated this spring.
"We want to take advantage of transition opportunities, but we want to value the ball," Schwind said. "We want to try to play the perfect game and minimize our mistakes.
"It’s going to come down to making good passes and getting good saves to spark the transition."
Hudson enters its 30th year as a lacrosse program. That fact is certainly dear to Schwind’s heart. It certainly helps that things have fallen into place quite nicely since he first landed in Northeast Ohio.
As a result, he is enjoying his new gig more and more as each day passes.
"I love it," Schwind said. "The kids are great. Coaching at Hudson has been a dream of mine and I’ve received tremendous support from the administration, the athletic department, the teachers and the parents.
"I appreciate how hard the kids have worked. It’s never easy when you have a coaching change. There is always an acclimation period. They’ve handled it very well. The attitudes have been very positive."
Reporter Frank Aceto can be reached at 330-541-9444, firstname.lastname@example.org or @FrankAceto_RPC.