The 61st Cortaca Jug football game between Ithaca College and Cortland State University will be played on its biggest stage yet this fall — MetLife Stadium, the home of the National Football League’s New York Giants and New York Jets. To shine a light on this historic matchup, we will run a multi-part series in this space leading up to game day on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. We’ll cover all things Cortaca — interviews with Cortaca Jug legends, plans for alumni gatherings around the nation, ways the game is being incorporated in academic programs and other topics. Previous stories in the series can be found here.
Some of Keith Heinzelman’s ’95 earliest memories about the nature of the Cortaca Jug rivalry came courtesy of his uncle Tom ’75, who was a part of the rivalry during some of Ithaca’s early national success under College Football Hall of Fame head coach Jim Butterfield.
“I always heard bad things about Cortland,” said Keith. “My uncle was all about beating Cortland. Playing football for them was outside of his realm of consciousness. I realized that the best way to get thrown out of the family would have been to attend Cortland.”
To date, the Heinzelman clan remains intact, as three family members have donned the blue and white of the Bombers: After Tom came Keith, and then Tom’s son Kevin ’09 and ’10 . Each speaks passionately of the college, their long-time friendships with teammates, and the roles of both Butterfield and Mike Welch ’73.
And having played in three different eras gives the family a distinctive perspective on Ithaca College, Bomber football, and the Cortaca rivalry.