Wake Forest announced Higgins hiring Monday. Higgins will also coach a position on offense, although his role has not yet been determined, the school said in a release.
Higgins was head coach at Lehigh where Clawson served as his offensive coordinator in 1994-95.
Higgins spent the past nine seasons with the Bulldogs of the Southern Conference. He had two winnings seasons, going 7-4 in 2007 and '12. Higgins had an overall record of 43-58 at Citadel.
Higgins is 99-83-1 overall as 16 years as a head coach.
Clawson said Higgins has a wealth of football knowledge through his college and NFL experiences. "He will be a great addition to our staff," Clawson said.
Higgins has left a head coaching spot to become a hands-on assistant previously, giving up a successful run at Lehigh in 2001 to join he Detroit Lions staff as quarterbacks coach for three seasons and as wide receivers coach for a year after that.
Higgins had been 34-4 his final three seasons at Lehigh, leading the program to three consecutive Patriot League titles and NCAA playoff appearances from 1998-2000.
He returned to the FCS head coaching ranks in 2005 when he took on rebuilding Citadel, which had just one winning season in the previous 10 under four different coaches.
Higgins led the Bulldogs to a 7-4 mark in 2007, finishing a surprising third in the SoCon that season.
His biggest move came in 2010 when he scrapped his pro-style offense and brought back the triple-option, which Citadel used to great success in the late 1980s and early 1990s with a conference championship and victories against FBS opponents like South Carolina and Arkansas.
The move helped Citadel to go 7-4 in 2012 and finish fourth nationally in rushing in each of the past two seasons.
The Bulldogs gained more than 273 yards a game on the ground this year with only Cal-Poly, Mercer and Portland State ahead of them in the FCS.