At a youthful age, Philip Travisano Jr. was taught about commitment, respect, and the value of athletics by his parents. Philip Sr. and his wife Lena were outstanding athletes and role models themselves. Philip Sr. played football, basketball, and baseball while residing in Fair Haven. Lena played on the Branford High School girls’ basketball team before graduating in 1936.
While growing up in Branford, Phil’s participation in sports changed with the season. In fact, he always had a ball in his hands playing pickup games with his friends at Hammer Field or on organized teams at the recreation department. It was at this time that he became fond of town icon Joe Trapasso (Hall of Fame Class of 1988). Phil volunteered to assist Mr. Trapasso landscaping fields, setting up tournaments, and with fund raising programs.
As a student at Branford High School, Travisano’s self discipline and determination enabled him to excel on the gridiron. At 5’8, 155 pounds, he was small in stature but was hardnosed and tough. Toughness is a trait deeply embedded in the Travisano family. Phil’s uncles Tony and Mickey Travisano were skilled professional prizefighters who captured regional championships and battled world champions. Two other uncles, Sammy Travisano was an amateur boxer and Joe St. John (Hall of Fame class of 1993) excelled in basketball and softball.
In 1961, Hornet head Coach Dom Cote (Hall of Fame Class of 1992) selected Travisano, then a freshman to start on the offensive line, and he never relinquished that position. At the conclusion of his senior season, Phil was named to the All State team with fellow Hornet and Hall of Fame member, Bob Tokarczyk. In that season, Branford went 6-2. Against arch rival East Haven, the Hornets were considerable underdogs to a potent Yellow Jacket team coached by the legendary Frank Crisafi. Branford earned a bitter 10-6 victory. At the conclusion of the game, new Hornet coach Bill Simon had to instruct Travisano to get on the bus. Overwhelmed with emotion, Phil wanted to remain on the field.
Proud of his Italian heritage, Phil was honored to be the recipient of the Carmen C. Criscuolo Memorial Award. This award was given annually to an outstanding high school athlete of Italian American heritage.
After high school, Travisano joined the Air Force and honorably served his country in Vietnam. He was stationed at Phan Rang Air Base in South Vietnam where he was a K9-sentry. Returning stateside, he graduated from Southern Connecticut on the G.I Bill of Rights. Phil became a math teacher at his alma mater. Also, he coached football under Joe Farina (Hall of Fame class of 1993), three years with the freshman team and four with the varsity. After four fabulous years in the classroom, he left teaching and went into the data processing field for two decades. Travisano then returned to the classroom, enjoying a total of twenty years as an educator.
Phil also worked part-time for the Branford Recreation Department as a life-guard at the middle school, and as a supervisor at the new community house and Foot Park.
Phil has been married to his wife Barbara for forty years. The couple has two married sons, Philip Jr. and his spouse Teri, and Jonathan and his wife Andrea.