TAIT, JOSEPH (15 May 1937-10 March 2021) was a sportscaster best known for being the voice of the CLEVELAND CAVALIERS.
Tait was born in Evanston, Ill, the son of J.R. and Laura Tait, and grew up in Amboy. He attended Monmouth College, and following graduation, spent three years in the U.S. Army. While at Monmouth, he met Bill Fitch, a coach at and alumnus of nearby Coe College.
Following military service, Tait spent the remainder of the 1960s at various radio stations throughout the Midwest, including WOUB in Athens, Ohio, where he also taught broadcasting classes at Ohio University. While at WBOW in Terre Haute, Indiana, Tait reconnected with Fitch, who was named the first coach of an NBA expansion team in Cleveland called the Cavaliers.
Tait was the inaugural radio broadcaster for the Cavs, starting in 1970. He broadcast Cavs games at the old Cleveland Arena and then the RICHFIELD COLISEUM, including the famous Miracle at Richfield in 1976. After clashing with owner TED STEPIEN, Tait left the Cavaliers following the 1980-81 season. He called New Jersey Nets games the next season on the radio, and then broadcast Chicago Bulls games the season after that on television. When George and Gordon GUND bought the team from Stepien, Tait returned and resumed his duties as the radio voice of the Cavaliers. He moved with the Cavs to their new home, Gund Arena, in 1994, and called the Cavs’ first NBA Finals appearance in 2007.
After original Cavs owner Nick Mileti bought the Indians in 1972, Tait filled in on several broadcasts, and in 1973, he became the Indians radio play-by-play announcer with HERB SCORE. In 1980, he moved to the television broadcast booth for WUAB with Bruce Drennan, a role he filled until 1987. While an Indians broadcaster, he called three no-hitters: Dick Bosman’s in 1974, Dennis Eckersley’s in 1977, and Len Barker’s perfect game in 1981 – on Tait’s birthday! He was also in the broadcast booth for the infamous 10-cent beer night in 1974.
Tait also broadcast games for the CLEVELAND ROCKERS of the WNBA, the American Hockey League CLEVELAND BARONS, the World Hockey Association CLEVELAND CRUSADERS, Mount Union College football and a variety of high school games.
He was inducted into the Cleveland Press Club Hall of Fame in 2003, the GREATER CLEVELAND SPORTS HALL OF FAME in 2005, and received the Curt Gowdy Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. He received the Greater Cleveland Sports Awards lifetime achievement award in 2008, the same year the broadcast booth at QUICKEN LOANS ARENA was renamed the Joe Tait Perch. Shortly before his retirement in 2011, he was honored with a banner in the rafters at Quicken Loans Arena.
Tait and his first wife Edith married in 1963 and divorced in 1980. They’d had two daughters, Christina and Karen, and a son Joe. In 1983, he married his second wife, Jean, and they remained married until his death.