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Branford football has been in Mike Tracy’s blood for decades as the lifelong town resident competed for the Hornets before graduating in 1993, served as an assistant coach during an 11-season tenure that featured a state title, and spent the last four years as head coach of the program. On Jan. 4, Tracy announced that for now his time with Branford football has concluded when he stepped down as head coach.
“There are basically three reasons why I’m stepping down: Peyton, Kaylee, and Trent,” said Tracy of the three children he has with his wife Tiffany, who are aged 9, 6, and, 4, respectively. “I want to be around and do stuff with them while they are still young. I do plan to get back into coaching.”
Tracy was an All-State free safety/linebacker who captained the Hornets in the 90s, then after playing linebacker at Southern Connecticut, he joined Branford’s coaching staff with Len Bonn and worked with special teams and linebackers. When his predecessor Gary Gravina took over as head coach in 2002, Tracy was promoted to defensive coordinator and helped the Hornets reach one state final in 2004, followed by claiming the Class M state championship the next season with a 14-7 win against East Lyme.
After Gravina stepped down in 2009, Tracy got his chance to be Branford’s head man and took the team to a division title in his first season. All totaled, the Hornets were 18-22 in Tracy’s four years, including a mark of 5-5 in the recent fall. Branford beat rival East Haven in all four of Tracy’s campaigns, including a 48-0 victory this past Thanksgiving in his last game as head coach.
“It’s been an awesome experience to coach for 15 years in the town where I grew up and be around great people in the community,” said Tracy, 38, who teaches health and physical education at Branford, where he will still serve as assistant coach for boys’ outdoor track. “Looking back, I’ll always remember all the relationships and interactions I had with our student-athletes. I’ve got to coach so many good kids and great players and to see them come back here as grown men is a great thing.”
Tracy said he will also always have fond memories of that cold December day at West Haven in 2005, when a Branford team comprised mostly of juniors and sophomores upended East Lyme to take home a state title. To say Tracy’s defense played a major role in that victory would be an understatement as the Vikings totaled just 24 yards in the first half and did not complete a pass in the game.
“After coming up just short in 2004, we knew how hard it would be to get back there, but we did it,” Tracy said. “That was just unbelievable.”
And according to Athletic Director, Tracy did an unbelievable job as head coach of Branford Hornets' football.
“There probably isn’t a harder-working coach in the building than Mike Tracy. He’s a tireless worker with a passion for football,” Palluzzi said. “Mike always has the best interest of the kids in mind and wants them to do well all the time.”