Long Beach State needs a women's basketball coach.
There is a very successful candidate a few miles east of campus who was a member of the 1987 NCAA Final Four team during the 49ers basketball heyday and has won a state title for Cypress College. Her teams have been national award winners for academic success, too.
Sounds perfectly logical and inspired.
But Margaret Mohr hasn't heard from Long Beach State, and the odd reality is that she probably wouldn't bite at the opportunity even if bounced into her lap.
Call it a strange paradox about coaching and education in the 21st Century.
For starters, Mohr is very, very happy at Cypress, where she has been the coach for 11 years and taken her team to the regional state finals four times, including in 2005 when her team went 28-5 and won the state title, and her 2006 team that went 27-6. She went 23-10 this season.
She also likes the fact that she is a teacher as well as a coach, and that she can teach a course on sports in society at the same time that she's coaching the Chargers into the playoffs.
Mohr is also well compensated and has good job security. Without getting into intimate details, suffice to say she would likely have to take a pay cut for the privilege of coaching the 49ers.
There are Division I coaches who make in excess of $150,000 a year, but the going rate for a Big West school tops out at $100,000, and chances are the next 49er coach won't make six digits, what with the athletic department tightening its belts with the recession.
Margaret Mohr loves Long Beach State and she's always honored when her name comes up in conversation, as it was before Mary Hegarty was hired. "I knew a lot more about the program six years ago," Mohr said in a chat Monday. "I haven't been contacted by anyone.
"People ask me a lot about the job thinking I have some inside scoop, but I really only know what I read in the paper. But it's such a great school with a storied tradition."
Mohr said that if she had two lives to live, one would be where she is now, comfortably and successfully teaching and coaching at Cypress, and one would be as head coach at Long Beach State or in the WNBA. But lacking that second swing at life, she's happy where she is.
"You reach a stage where you ask yourself what's most important, and I like being able to teach and coach," she said. "I have very good security, the pay is so good, and the people are terrific, and it provides me a nice balance. It would be hard for any other job to match that."
Mohr, who ranks in the 49er all-time Top 10 in assists for a career and in a single season, recently spoke with her former coach, Joan Bonvicini, the 49er icon who won 325 games in 12 seasons at Long Beach State before leaving for Arizona. They were talking jobs, as one would expect, and Bonvicini asked Mohr what she thought about the 49ers circa 2009.
Bonvicini, who is on the short list at Oregon, had not been contacted at that time by Long Beach State, either, probably for the same financial reasons. A.D. Vic Cegles was mum on the coaching search other than saying he's had a multitude of applications and inquires.
"Women's basketball has changed so much," Mohr said. "You follow the money. The good coaches will go to those schools that can provide the best support to win, schools that put money in and expect a return.
"I think Long Beach has been spoiled by some amazing coaches and administrators. It's the nature of state schools: Do more with less, and they've been successful despite that. The problem is that sometimes you buy into that mentality, and no one really knows how long you can continue to do that, especially when you're competing against schools in a much better (financial) situation.
"What Long Beach has going for it is a great tradition, beautiful facilities, great community that's supportive and a great area to recruit in. But with no disrespect to the conference, it is hard to get kids interested when the league is considered second tier by the athletes you recruit.
"Joan's teams were always in the Top 10, and everyone knew the teams on the schedule."
Back then, San Diego State, San Jose State, Fresno State, Hawaii and UNLV played in the Big West. The 1987 Final Four team, when Mohr was a senior and was named to all-West Region team, played Texas, Arkansas, USC, UCLA, several other Pac-10 teams, then-powerhouses Old Dominion and Louisiana Tech, and hosted the USSR national team in an exhibition.
Beats Portland State and Cal Poly.
"That was great motivation for the players, knowing you were playing those teams and expected to beat them," she said.
"I've met Vic and Dr. (F. King) Alexander and they've been very cordial and nice. I just think it's a different time regarding who's connected. I know I enjoy watching the tam play, and I would tell anyone it's a place where you can win."
It would be a winning day to have Mohr as head coach. For now, 49er fans will have to be content that Mohr is winning, and happy, somewhere else.