Coach Dave Clawson announced the move Sunday, one day after the Demon Deacons’ 56-27 loss to No. 8 Notre Dame.
“This was a difficult decision and not a spur of the moment decision,” Clawson said. “I want to thank Coach Sawvel for all his hard work with our football program over the last two years. Coach Sawvel is a very good person and a good football coach.”
In Sawvel’s absence, Wake Forest promoted defensive analyst Tim Gilmore to a full-time coaching position and will split other defensive responsibilities among the remaining staff.
Gilmore joined the team’s staff over the summer after formerly serving as the head coach at Holy Cross.
The Demon Deacons (2-2), who have allowed 97 points in their past two games, have surrendered 10 touchdowns spanning at least 20 yards in their last four contests.
Wake Forest ranks 114th in the nation with 484 yards yielded per game and 110th nationally in yards per play allowed (6.35). The Demon Deacons permit an average of nearly 314 yards passing to rank 121st in the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Wake Forest (2-2) returns to the field on Saturday against Rice.