During mitosis, the bipolar spindle is tightly coupled to the two duplicated centrosomes; this ensures the faithful segregation of the genome and centrosomes to the daughter cells. While spindle assembly and centrosome-mediated microtubule nucleation have been extensively studied, much less is known about how centrosome–spindle coupling is achieved. Drosophila Mud (mammalian nuclear mitotic apparatus protein 1, NuMa1) is involved in spindle orientation and controls centrosome number; however, the underlying mechanism is not well understood. Floris Bosveld, Anna Ainslie and Yohanns Bellaïche now (p. 3557) set out to further characterise the function of Mud, as well as that of its interactors Asp (mammalian abnormal spindle-like microcephaly-associated protein homolog, ASPM) and dynein, in symmetrically diving epithelial cells. They report here that loss of Mud results in spindle defects and in displaced or supernumerary centrosomes. Interestingly, Mud and Asp contribute to centrosome–spindle coupling by different means, with Mud functioning to separate the centrosomes independently of Asp, whereas Asp is subsequently required to mediate the coupling between the centrosomes and the spindle. Furthermore, dynein is necessary initially to position the centrosomes at the nuclear periphery upon entry into mitosis. Based on these data, the authors propose that dynein, Mud and Asp act sequentially to ensure proper centrosome–spindle coupling during mitosis.