Was Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman Drunk Saturday?

By Jason Priestas on November 10, 2013 at 9:43p

UPDATE 11/11 10:18 a.m.

Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald acknowledged the awkward audio, but said it was due to "significant feedback" from the PA system at Michigan Stadium.

“She, absolutely, had not been drinking alcohol,” Fitzgerald wrote in a statement. “I want to underscore that point in the strongest possible way.”

Via Deadspin, comes this video of Michigan president Mary Sue Coleman speaking at halftime of the Wolverines' game with Nebraska Saturday.

Was she drinking prior to making this speech? Or was it just a result of the delay in stadium acoustics? We'll leave that to you to decide (mostly because we're not big fans of libel suits).

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Knarcisi's picture

Hammered!  Was she also blocking on the o-line?

NoVA Buckeye's picture

I think you're giving Michigan's Offensive Line too much credit

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

buckeye_heart's picture

A little too much of grandpa's old cough medicine!

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Based on the way their team has been playing this season, could you blame her?

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

It was halftime. Against Nebraska.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Scott's picture

It was a joke. That was funny.

Class of 2008

Poison nuts's picture

She's drunk out of her mind! That's drunk...plastered.

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

N8thegr8's picture

She clearly was partying with those damn catholics Gordon Gee warned us all about. 

"Play for Ohio State or get beat by Ohio State. That simple." - Kirk Barton 

GoBucksToledo's picture

Being Catholic, I agree, we know how to party!

AcrossTheField11's picture

Not sure how sound my theory is, but this video could have been altered.  I know my voicemail system at work has an option to speed up or slow down a person's voice on the message by pressing the 6 or 4 buttons respectively, without changing the pitch of the persons voice (higher or lower).  Adjusting the speed down one or two notches legitimately makes the person leaving the message sound trashed.  This was the first thing that crossed my mind while watching this video.  It's pretty funny, either way.  

Time and change will surely show how firm they friendship... O-HI-O.

Kaceybrown's picture

I wouldn't get anything done at all

M Man's picture

Not sure how sound my theory is, but this video could have been altered...

I was there, and everybody I know who was there all agree; the amateur cellphone-video is an accurate portrayal.  The video is not altered in any significant way that I know of.
She's retiring; her retirement has already been announced, months ago.  (She'll be gone by July of next year.)  This was the second-to-last home football game for her as President of the University.  And because Nebraska's band was not there, and because OSU's band will be there for the final home game of the season, this was the best time for a short ceremony to honor Coleman for 12 years as President in a halftime show.
She mentioned in her halting and slurred remarks that she was surprised by the ceremony.  That part, I believe.  I think that the Athletic Department wanted to surprise her with this little event.  (She was given an honorary M letter jacket and a framed number 12 Michigan jersey.)  But what a p.r. disaster, especially now that the University's spokesman has gone on record with a categorical denial as to any alcohol involvement at all.  They blame the reverberation from the portable microphone that she was handed on the field, and the delay from the stadium's p.a. system.  However, nobody has ever seen an address like that from any of the other recent on-field ceremonies. 
This situation was so strange, a lot of people initially thought it was a severe neurological disorder.  I don't know anyone who believes the microphone-delay story.

igo43's picture

I have to say that the first thing I suspected was some type of neurological disorder, medical condition, or medication that may have been the reason. I think it's sad that the first conclusion people jumped to was, "She's drunk!". This is one of those situations where you have to give someone the benefit of the doubt until other facts come to light.

"The minute I think I'm getting mellow, I'm retiring. Who ever heard of a mellow winner?" - WWH

M Man's picture

"Drunk" was absolutely not my first conclusion.  
"Neurological disorder" WAS my initial reaction.
In hindsight, it seems to me to be an inescapable conclusion; alcohol, medication, something related, etc.  It was not normal, and I do not accept the official "audio system" explanation. 

Citrus's picture

I buy the explanation. She was probably hearing her own voice and to overcome that she drug her words out a bit long. 

igo43's picture

I wasn't saying that you thought drunk was your first conclusion, my intent in responding to you was to agree with you and that I thought OTHERS were immediately jumping to the conclusion that she was drunk.
Sorry for not being clear.

"The minute I think I'm getting mellow, I'm retiring. Who ever heard of a mellow winner?" - WWH

Stinson's picture

A lot of michigan people are claiming that she spoke so horribly because she could hear herself over the loud speaker and there was a delay in the audio. I can somewhat sympathize with this, but I don't know. You'd think she'd be better/have experience speaking on such a stage.

Hilarious either way.

"The height of human desire is what wins, whether it's on Normandy Beach or in Ohio Stadium." -Wayne Woodrow Hayes

Jordan Wagner's picture

I read the comments. One thing that stuck out to me was Michigan's president is a commencement speaker at Michigan State this fall. That seems weird. 

BucksfanXC's picture

Also, MSU's president, Lou Anna K Simon, is getting an honorary degree from UofM this year. They work together quite a bit outside of the football field. 

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Hovenaut's picture

I can't stop posting this girl.
A plausible reaction....

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

The girl's face next to her is priceless. Her declining expression is how M*chigan fans have been with each passing game. lol

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

Hovenaut's picture

That and the sugar high from the doughnuts wearing off.

She'll be a mess come the 30th.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

She won't be there. In fact, if they lose another game, there will probably be a "Scarlet Out" part VII on the 30th.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

buckeyedude's picture

You're exactly right, VSTHEWORLD. I bet those girls will sell their OSU/UM tix so they can buy another bag of weed at the Hash Bash.
Coleman? WTF? That whole university sounds like a trainwreck. I guess it ain't just the football team.



GoBucksToledo's picture

Is this Mary Sue Coleman?

tennbuckeye19's picture

The dude behind her with the jacket zipped up cracks me up every time. His eyes and the expression on his face combined with the the girls in front of him are priceless.

RedsBuckeyeBoy's picture

Give her the microphone this week. She certainly couldn't do any worse!

Buckeye Chuck's picture

Man, Gary Moeller is really sounding bad these days ...

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

Idaho Helga's picture

After looking at TTUN sites, no,  it seems clear from all who were at the stadium that she was probably drunk.  She wasn't slated to speak at halftime as far as she knew and there was a big fundraiser right before the game so there you go.  But I just replayed the "speech" 4x and it's kinda obvious.  But whatever.  They way that game went, why,  why not?  Somebody with her should have maybe stepped in but you never know in these things.

buckeyedude's picture

I would hope that someone of Coleman's stature and prestige would be able to handle her liquor, Helga.



741's picture


40 Degrees North's picture

Karen Holbrook, why couldn't you have been this entertaining? There is nothing wrong attending a drunken orgy or two.

captain obvious's picture

Can anyone really blame her?

I'm a friend of thunder is it any wonder lightning strikes me

drumsontheside's picture



dumpus's picture

looks fine to me.
steve bellisari, '.22

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Wow.  I could not stop laughing.  Please, oh please, does somebody have the whole speech?  One of you music wizards ought to put that to soft whino music in the background. 
That woman was drunk. 
It don't take waving Whoopi Goldberg at her to tell that.  She was cold stone stand up drunk, and the idiots she was with were too stupid to realize she was about to wipe her face with her fans' asses.  It was probably a drunken orgy up in that box and everybody was naked.  She grabbed the mic, I heard, from a naked guy covered in chocolate and was slurring because she had gargled with a large amount of chocolate and her adnoids were swollen.
I demand an explanation...as a fan I am irate that such behavior is going on in our institutions of higher learning!
No amount of feedback, electrical surge or delay or whatever would cause that cadence in her voice.  It needs to be analyzed by our craftiest warriors...and re-tooled to suit the needs of the collective fandom.   
I'm not going to apologize for being gleeful about such a gem as this.  You remember those old commercials comparing values:  "...priceless."

I like cookies.

BROSEPH's picture

Not saying I don't think she was intoxicated, but hearing your voice at a slight delay and trying to speak at the same time has a weird effect on the brain and causes a slurred speech almost exactly like the way she was.  This shouldn't be the case as she is usually a great public speaker and gives commencement addresses from that very spot every year without a problem.

Buckman's picture

Ale to the Victors?

I like to believe that my best hits border on felonious assault.


southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Relistening to this...when she says "...the coaches we have at Mshhhggn..."  Isn't that particular point slushy to you?  It's almost as if she forgets who they are for a second...
I can hear some nearby fans snickering near the beginning, and then when they all realize that she is indeed liquored up pretty good, they kinda wait for the hammer to drop...everybody is expecting the worst, like a sudden crash, and a drunken tirade...I mean, that's the way the season is going for the Maiznblew. 
It's a dumpster fire in a volcano.

I like cookies.

Nkohl13's picture

It sounded like she just got speech jammed from the delayed audio. Me and a friend made a video last year of us tricking people into doing an interview with us where the person we interviewed heard them self on a delay. It actually works.

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Wow.  You mean it made them fall down drunk?

I like cookies.

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Did the delay cause the stench of liquor wafting from the President's box? 
Some of the top rows became impaired just from the fumes.

I like cookies.

texasbuckeye's picture

Scotch scotch scotch

buckeyedude's picture

That woman was drunk. No question. Make all the excuses for her you want. You can hear the fans laughing and talking about it in the background.



MN Buckeye's picture

So, BD, from your avatar, are you speaking from experience?

harleymanjax's picture

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

Kindell's picture

This brings back horrible memories of a best man speech I had to give.  

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Ladies and gentlemen, if there's anybody here this afternoon who's feeling nervous, apprehensive and queasy at the thought of what lies ahead, it's probably because you have just got married . . .  errrr, I mean gave a multi-year contract to . . . Brady Hoke.


buckeyepastor's picture

I agree.  The fans in view seem to be thinking the same thing as they listen to her talking   I just know that I will feel like complete crap for laughing over and over at this if someone at the school comes out with a statement that she recently suffered a stroke or something. 

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

Paul1968's picture

The awkward audio of University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman’s remarks during the halftime of the Saturday’s football game resulted when she attempted to slow her speech to deal with significant feedback from the stadium public address system.
She, absolutely, had not been drinking alcohol. I want to underscore that point in the strongest possible way.
All day long Saturday, President Coleman was attending events related to the launch of the Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign. No alcohol was served at those events.
At the stadium President Coleman hosted a non-alcoholic reception for alumni and donors in the president's box in the stadium.
Her recognition at halftime was unexpected and the wireless microphone she was using is not one with which she had any prior experience. There was significant wind, feedback and, even under the best conditions, the sound is distorted in the stadium when a wireless mic is used.
She struggled with the feedback and tried to adjust to the sound delay and the reverberation by slowing down her words.
She had hoped to communicate her gratitude for the recognition and her enthusiasm for Michigan.
It was an unfortunate set of circumstances that led to the audio distortion.
- University Spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald

northcampus's picture

Rick Fitzgerald could probably make a pretty decent amount of scratch on the side writing up disclaimers such as this for those who needed a little liquid courage before giving their wedding toasts.

yrro's picture

What he didn't add, "It's much harder to adjust for feedback when you're drunk off your ass."

RedStorm45's picture

She had no problem in the commencement speech.

burkmon's picture

All day long Saturday, President Coleman was attending events related to the launch of the Victors for Michigan fundraising campaign. No alcohol was served at those events.

So she had her own travelers? 


Doc's picture

Fail to the Victors!  That was drunk, not feedback.  Denial is more than just a river in Egypt.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Earle's picture

Does anyone know what type of hooch this Feedback stuff is, and where I can get a bottle or two?

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

Unky Buck's picture

I hope she didn't run into a poll like this guy...

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Yeah, we should take a pole about her degree of drunkenness. 
Polls or no polls.

I like cookies.

Unky Buck's picture

Haha, thanks, Southern. Misspellings happen.

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

Earle's picture

I hope she didn't run into a Pole, like this guy...

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

causeicouldntgo43's picture

Good one! Lech gave him a swift uppercut and Ronnie finished him off with a roundhouse..........

Idaho Helga's picture

You're absolutely right.  Even if there was a fundraiser, that's certainly no excuse.

blueinsconsin's picture

I think everyone from Michigan was drunk on Saturday...and I can't blame them.

Not here to troll...Go Blue

Whoa Nellie's picture

"Victors for Michigan" fundraiser?  If that's was it was really called (and not "For the Love of God, Help Us Hire a New Coaching Staff"), the explanation could be that only 4 people showed up and thus, they all OD'd on the KoolAid that fuels TTUN fandom.
I'm buying that none of the events at The Big Saloon served alcohol.  I'm also buying Enron futures and shares in Bernie Madoff's investment fund. 

“Don’t fear criticism. The stands are full of critics. They play no ball. They fight no fights. They make no mistakes because they attempt nothing. Down on the field are the doers, they make mistakes because they attempt many things.”

tennbuckeye19's picture

"Those who stay won't remember a single thing that happened..."

Earle's picture

Vodka Samm just tweeted that she'd like to be considered to be Coleman's replacement.

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

harleymanjax's picture

Right now the projection for the Gator Bowl is M*chigan vs Georgia......Just what I need, a bunch of M*chigan drunks in my city for New Years!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

blueinsconsin's picture

me no likey

Not here to troll...Go Blue

Jdadams01's picture

If that matchup happens, I'm calling Georgia by 30.

BrooklynBuckeye's picture

To me, yeah this sounds like someone who's wasted, OR someone who's on a cocktail of prescription meds. I've seen it a bunch, mostly from female baby boomers (not trying to be sexist or agist, just my experience). I've known people for years, and their speech patterns change and they start slurring because of new meds (not strokes, or being drunk). Maybe she took another blue when she was supposed to take a red. 

causeicouldntgo43's picture

If your BFF is an FBB, make sure her meds get adjusted properly.

Earle's picture

You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay at Michigan, and OSU will show you how deep the suckitude goes.

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

OSUmuFAN's picture

If she isn't drunk, the only possible conclusion is that she has suffered one to many concussions behind M!ch!gan's horrible offensive line.