IAN OREFICE is a storm of energy. He grew up in Clifton Park, N.Y., playing golf, teaching golf and then playing professionally—which he quit Siena College to do—in mini-tours and generally barnstorming around the country. Much hilarity and good times ensued. Returning to school ("Hey, the plan was always to graduate, and then go back to golf") at Providence, Ian founded the school's first student-run TV station, picking up video journalism as naturally as he had a nine-iron when he was an 11-year-old. Next stop, CNN, doing several jobs (sometimes all at once) before sliding over to CNN/Money.com, where he was part of the launch team that created the site's leading business digital video network. Then, looking for a bigger challenge, he arrived at SI in February 2010 charged with more or less inventing SI's video network out of almost zero infrastructure. His first move was to find Maggie Gray. Also from upstate New York (Binghamton), Gray stood tall (which she is) from Day One on the job as a beacon of cool professionalism. If Ian throws ideas like sparks, Maggie catches them in perfectly matched sets. She had already covered sports on all levels, and she glided seamlessly into an improvised studio as SI's first digital sports anchor, conducting interviews with the most influential names in sports about the top stories in the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, college football, college basketball, NASCAR, horse racing and Olympic sports (routinely all in the same day) on her Inside Report. As far as I can tell, the two of them work a couple of thousand hours a week as a kind of mind-meld thinking machine, a collaboration that plays as genuinely in their videos as it does in their work with colleagues.
Executive producer Orefice, Gray and senior producer Collin Orcutt spearhead a small but prodigiously agile staff. Orcutt, who also apparently works a couple of thousand hours a week, came to SI.com as an intern from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and stuck—which is a bit like suggesting that Derek Jeter stuck with the Yankees. It's all about the work, bringing the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED brand to life in video across all platforms (Web, mobile, tablet, broadcast), servicing SI, SI GOLF, SI KIDS and Swimsuit. What started as a few videos daily on SI.com now typically ranges from 18 to 25 million views per month. And that number jumps considerably during February, March and April because of the more than 100 videos produced for the SI Swimsuit franchise. The most recent narrative series created for SI.com and the digital editions of the magazine is Underdogs, 10 mini-documentaries profiling high school football programs across the United States that have overcome such obstacles as dilapidated facilities, crime-ridden communities, severe funding deficits and disasters, both personal and natural. (Go to www.Facebook.com/SportsIllustrated to tell us about an Underdog team in your community.) This is a series (sponsored by Powerade) that illustrates that the most inspiring sports stories don't always come from the pros or big-budget college programs. Naturally, it's one of Ian's favorite ideas.