Former Toledo Sports Anchor Dies

By Kevin Eck 

Former WTOL sports director Orris Tabner has died at the age of 83.

Tabner worked at the Toledo CBS affiliate from 1959 until his retirement in 1996.


“I credit whatever success I had to a lot of continuity at Channel 11 and to longevity and, for some reason, to just being very comfortable with television,” Tabner told the Toledo Blade in 2009. “There were times I’d be doing interviews on radio and be absolutely petrified. But I was never that way on TV,” “Certainly there were guys who knew more about sports than I did, but I think that comfort level allowed me to connect with the viewers and I had a great, long run.”

WTOL’s current sports director Dan Cummins says Tabner was known for his sense of humor.

“He did the same bit every year,” Dan said, referring to Orris’ coverage of the Ohio State-Michigan football game.

Dan says Orris would say they were going to air a tribute to both teams, then play an Ohio State tribute.

“[Then he’d say,] ‘Oh, I’m sorry, guess we’re out of time! We’ll run it (the Michigan tribute) next year!’ And that’s just how he was,” Dan said.