Texas Council on Family Violence Kicks Off Campaign Called “Young Hearts Matter” to Raise Awareness During National Teen Dating Abuse Awareness Month in February

San Antonio, TX (February 19, 2015) – Today, Young Hearts Matter, a campaign to bring awareness to teen dating abuse, recognized key leaders across Texas during February, Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month. Teen dating abuse happens in every school across the country and coaches in Texas have a huge impact on the lives of Texas teens and children.

That’s why the Texas Council on Family Violence has partnered with the Texas High School Coaches Association and their outstanding leader, Executive Director D.W. Rutledge, a true champion who has vision and wisdom on and off the field.

TCFV honored Texas High School Coaches Association and Executive Director D.W. Rutledge as the Texas Young Hearts Partner for Change Award at the 5th Annual Texas Coaches Leadership Summit at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in San Antonio. This award recognizes a community leader whose partnerships and efforts have given a voice to violence prevention and have inspired systemic or community wide change across the state. As a coach, D.W. Rutledge has touched the lives of many athletes, as Executive Director of the THSCA, he touches the lives of influencers across the state, and as a man of great character, he touches the lives of everyone he meets. For his relentless commitment to young hearts in Texas, the Texas Council on Family Violence names D.W. Rutledge as this year’s Young Hearts Matter Texas Partner for Change.

The Texas Coaches Leadership Summit is the signature event of the Texas High School Coaches Education Foundation. The goal is to unite coaches from across the state of Texas with one primary purpose: to coach beyond the game!

“Over the years, the state of our society has significantly changed and children are flooding into our educational system laden with social issues that could hinder or negate their chances for success,” said D.W. Rutledge, Executive Director of the High School Coaches Association. “With domestic violence coming to the forefront recently, the lack of fathers and positive male role models in the lives of American youth today is quickly becoming an epidemic that we feel athletics and coaches, specifically, can play a part in changing for the better. Our focus is on core values in the hopes that our coaches statewide can carry the torch to help our student athletes become successful and responsible citizens. I am honored to receive this award for my work from the Texas Council on Family Violence.”

During his 16 years of coaching, Rutledge was one of the most successful coaches in Texas high school football history, winning four state championships in the state’s highest classification, 5A. The stadium in Converse, Texas is named after him. He co-authored a book and curriculum titled Coaching to Change Lives that is still widely used across the country. However, coaching to him means much more than developing physical prowess. He believes that athletics offer coaches a unique opportunity to build the character of young athletes. D.W embodies the very mission of the association: To help and serve our Texas high school coaches as they work to help and serve our student athletes. “HELPING COACHES TO HELP KIDS.”

As Executive Director of the Texas High School Coaches Association, Coach Rutledge has prioritized TCFV’s Coaching Boys into Men program. He has offered access to his 21,000 members to raise awareness of the program and has been instrumental in its implementation in Texas high schools. Another initiative of the Association under his direction is the Game Changer Leadership Summit, a forum that brings together a community of coaches tapping on their leadership to be ambassadors for change in the lives of young athletes. The focus is on young athletes where a father may not be present in the home.

“Teen dating violence is an urgent yet often silent problem across Texas,” said TCFV Board Chair, Mary Lee Hafley. “As the mother of a high school coach and the Chair of TCFV, the largest statewide association protecting victims of domestic violence, I believe by partnering with enlightened men like Coach Rutledge and organizations like the Texas High School Coaches Association, we are reaching thousands of athletes across the state and teaching them about healthy relationships. We hope by engaging athletes as teens, they will never experience or perpetuate violence. We are honored to be working with statewide associations, local programs, school districts and student leaders across Texas who are devising innovative ways to educate teens. The Texas Council on Family Violence is also thrilled to honor Coach Rutledge as a visionary leader.”

How can you connect Texas?
Download the YHM Toolkit – includes posters, activities, resources and more to make your February events soar!
Use #OurHeartsMatter – share posts/tweets/photos/events on social media to enter weekly contests!
Subscribe to TCFV Prevention Brief – stay informed on prevention trends, research, & local stories.


Texas Council on Family Violence is the only 501(c) 3 nonprofit coalition in Texas dedicated solely to creating safer communities and freedom from family violence. With a state-wide reach and direct local impact, TCFV, with the collective strength of more than 1000 members, shapes public policy, equips service providers, and initiates strategic prevention efforts. Visit us online at http://www.tcfv.org/.