Clifford nabbed his first NBA head coaching job after serving as an assistant for 13 seasons with the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers.
He takes the reins after Dunlap led the Bobcats to a 21-61 record in the 2012-13 campaign -- the second-worst mark in the league.
"(Clifford) brings a strong pedigree and a track record of success to our franchise," Bobcats President Rod Higgins said. "He has built a reputation as an innovator, especially defensively, and has experience in multiple systems. We look forward to utilizing his knowledge as we continue to build this team."
Clifford's latest stint behind the bench was for the Magic, were he assisted head Coach Stan Van Gundy from 2007-12.
"Any good coach has a clear, definitive vision of how they want their team to play, to work, to practice. I have that," Clifford said.