Clawson, 46, becomes the 32nd head football coach for Wake Forest. He replaces Jim Grobe, who resigned earlier this month after 13 seasons leading the Demon Deacons. Wake Forest was 4-8 this year and hasn't had a winning season since 2008.
Clawson, who coached at Fordham and Richmond before Bowling Green, has a 90-80 overall record in 14 seasons. He was 32-31 -- 10-3 this season -- in five seasons with Bowling Green.
"We are very pleased to have Dave Clawson leading our football program," Wake Forest Director of Athletics Ron Wellman said. "Dave is a proven winner and leader and has had great success at every institution he has coached.
"Dave has rebuilt every program that he has coached and has led each institution to a conference championship. He has developed a national reputation as a builder of programs."
Bowling Green defeated previously unbeaten Northern Illinois in the Mid-American Conference championship game last Friday. The Falcons accepted an invitation to the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl but Clawson won't coach the game.
Bowling Green said special teams coordinator Adam Scheier would serve as interim head coach through the Dec. 26 bowl game.