U of U Sports

Utah basketball: Would you like cheese on that? Larry Krystkowiak makes sandwiches to raise funds for Coaches vs. Cancer

First Published      Last Updated Feb 06 2017 04:30 pm

"Wait, are you really the basketball coach?"

The woman at the Subway counter wasn’t completely trusting the name tag reading "Coach K" resting on Larry Krystkowiak’s chest, nor the fact that he stood a foot taller than any of the other employees in line.

But yes, it was Utah men’s basketball coach who was putting the cheese on sandwiches for the Monday lunchtime rush at a Subway in South Salt Lake. And no, he isn’t pulling a second job to supplement an income of about $2.5 million in annual compensation.

Krystkowiak was raising money for Coaches vs. Cancer, an initiative between the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the American Cancer Society. Through Feb. 11, local Subway locations are participating by offering customers the chance to donate to Coaches vs. Cancer.

So far, four other in-state basketball coaches have cameoed at Subway for the fundraiser: SUU’s Todd Simon, Weber State’s Randy Rahe, BYU’s Dave Rose and UVU’s Mark Pope. USU’s Tim Duryea also participated in the promotion but didn’t appear in a store.

As his shift wound down on Monday afternoon, Krystkowiak let customers know he was behind the counter to raise money for cancer and posed for selfies and other photo ops. He also didn’t hesitate to crack wise: "These are all just leftovers from the Super Bowl," he told one group of customers.

His chief duty was layering on cheese and occasionally laying down chicken. He was encouraged by his interactions with customers and donators during his hourlong shift.

"It’s fun to be a part of it, I wouldn’t trade it for anything," Krystkowiak said. "There’s a lot of good people that are willing to give."

The fight against cancer is personal for many people, but Krystkowiak has talked about it often: His mother died from cancer during his youth, and he himself had a cancerous thyroid removed last spring during the offseason. The Utes have participated in the Suits and Sneakers promotion, and other charity events associated with Coaches vs. Cancer throughout the year.

The American Cancer Society helps fund an estimated $4.5 million in cancer-related research grants at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, Primary Children’s Hospital and University of Utah among others.

Twitter: @kylegoon