Cavs Legend Joe Tait Passes

Joe Tait

Joe Tait passed away this afternoon on March 10th.

Joe Tait began his longtime association with the Cleveland Cavaliers when the team was in its first year of existence in 1970, and called Cavs games until his retirement at the end of the 2010-11 season. The only times that Tait did not call Cavs games, other than illness, was during the 1980-81, 1981-82, and 1982-83 seasons, when there was a change in management of the broadcasts. During that time, he did New Jersey Nets games on the radio, and Chicago Bulls games on TV.

When Gordon and George Gund bought the Cavaliers in 1983, they re-hired Tait, and the only time after that he was not at the mic was when he was out for illness, including much of the 2010-11 season. Tait was made the team's Vice President of Broadcast Services in 1987.

Tait had his own spot at what is now Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse to call Cavaliers games. In 2008, that seat was named "The Joe Tait Perch," and is still where Tim Alcorn and Jim Chones sit when they call games on WTAM and the Cavaliers Radio Network.

He received the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2011, after his retirement had been announced, the Cavs held "Joe Tait Apprecation Night." A banner with Tait's name was raised up into the rafters of the arena, to go alongside those of retired player numbers.

You may also remember Tait having done Cleveland Indians games on TV and radio. He called Indians games on the radio from 1973-79, and on TV from 1980-87. It was Joe Tait who called the play-by-play of Len Barker's perfect game on WUAB-TV.

While Tait was best known for doing NBA basketball and Major League Baseball, he also called TV broadcasts of football games at University of Mount Union, and called some high school basketball games on Elyria radio station WEOL.

Some of Tait's signature lines were, "It's basketball time at the (name of arena)." "Wham with the right/left hand!," and his closure for each broadcast, "This is Joe Tait. Have a good night, everybody."

Joe Tait was born in Evanston, Illinois. He began his radio career at Mounouth College in Illinois. After graduation, he spent three years in the Army. He did Ohio University sports in the late 1960s, followed by Indiana University football, and pre-game shows for the Indiana Pacers, before coming to Cleveland in 1970.

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