100 in 100: Washington County’s Charles Bowser, member of Dolphins’ ‘Killer B’s’

The Plymouth native was a mainstay on Miami's early ’80s defense

Plymouth's Charles Bowser (56) was a big part of the Miami Dolphins' "Killer B's" defense of the early 1980s. (Mike Zito / AP Photo)

North State Journal’s 100 in 100 series will showcase the best athlete from each of North Carolina’s 100 counties. From Alamance to Yancey, each county will feature one athlete who stands above the rest. Some will be obvious choices, others controversial, but all of our choices are worthy of being recognized for their accomplishments — from the diamond and gridiron to racing ovals and the squared circle. You can see all the profiles as they’re unveiled here.

Washington County

Charles Bowser

Seven of the 11 starters on the Miami Dolphins’ defense during the early 1980s had surnames starting with the letter B. That and the fact that the unit was statistically the best in the NFL led to it earning the nickname of “The Killer B’s.”

Among the most underrated members of the group that led the Dolphins to Super Bowl appearances in 1982 and ’84, which also included Bob Baumhower, Lyle Blackwood, Kim Bokamper, Glenn Blackwood, Doug Betters and Bob Brudzinski, was pass rushing linebacker Charles Bowser.


A fourth-round draft pick out of Duke, Bowser moved right into the starting lineup as a rookie during the strike-shortened 1982 season and stayed there for the next four years until an ankle injury two games into the 1985 schedule and the tragic death of his wife in a car accident while he was rehabbing combined to prematurely end his career.

During his 42 games in Miami, the 6-foot-3, 230-pound native of Plymouth was credited with 20 sacks. His best season was 1984 when he amassed nine sacks and a fumble recovery on the way to a Super Bowl date against the San Francisco 49ers.

Charles Bowser

Bowser’s road to the NFL began at Plymouth High School, where he helped lead the Vikings to a conference championship as a senior and put together an impressive enough resume to be selected to represent North Carolina in the 1977 Shrine Bowl.

He was recruited to Duke by then-coach and fellow 100 in 100 selection Mike McGee (Pasquotank County), where after recording only 4.5 sacks through his first three years, he put together one of the most dominant senior seasons in Blue Devils history.

His 17.5 sacks in 1981 remain a single-season school record and his 22 career sacks are also the most in school history.

These days he lives in Chesapeake, Virginia, and runs a series of youth football camps, including one in his hometown of Plymouth.